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J Infect Dis. 2000 Mar;181(3):1172-5.

Lack of immunity in university students before an outbreak of serogroup C meningococcal infection.

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Public Health Laboratory, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, United Kingdom.


Immunity to meningococci was determined in infected and uninfected students before and during an outbreak of serogroup C meningococcal infection at a university in the United Kingdom. No immunity against the outbreak strain was detected in serum taken from infected students prior to the outbreak or at the time of admission; bactericidal activity developed during convalescence. Carriage of all strains of serogroup C meningococci in asymptomatic students was low (0.9%), and no carriage of the outbreak strain could be detected. Immunity in the at-risk student population before the outbreak was low: 90% of students had no significant bactericidal activity against the outbreak strain. A low prevalence of carriage of the outbreak strain, together with a low prevalence of protective immunity within the student population, was associated with a high incidence of invasive disease in those who acquired the outbreak strain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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