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Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Mar;10(3):451-6.

Correlating epidemiologic trends with the genotypes causing meningococcal disease, Maryland.

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University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Epidemic meningococcal infection is generally caused by single clones; whether nonepidemic increases in infection are clonal is unknown. We studied the molecular epidemiology of meningococcal infection during a period that the incidence increased in two age groups. Serogroup C and Y meningococcal isolates were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing. From 1992 to 1999, 96.4% (27/28) of serogroup C isolates from persons 15-24 years of age were in clonal group 1, compared with 65.6% (21/32) of isolates from persons < or =14 years, and 64.3% (9/14) of isolates from adults > or =25 years (p < or = 0.01). The proportion of clonal group 2 serogroup Y strains increased from 7.7% (1/13) in 1992 to 1993 to 52.0% (13/25) in 1998 to 1999 (p < 0.01). The nonepidemic age-specific increases in serogroup C meningococcal infection in Maryland were clonal in nature and the changes in serogroup Y incidence were associated with a shift in the genotypes of strains causing invasive disease.

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