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J Clin Microbiol. 2016 Jan;54(1):2-4. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02776-15. Epub 2015 Nov 18.

Unveiling New Aspects of Meningococcal Carriage and Disease Prevention.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Landspitali University Hospital, and Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland


Recently, two protein-based vaccines have been approved for the prevention of invasive meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B (MenB). It is therefore important to study carefully if and how these pathogens respond to widespread vaccination. Traditionally, meningococci have been classified on the basis of capsular phenotypes, but variable levels of capsule expression can influence the results, mainly among MenB strains. In this issue, Jones and colleagues (J Clin Microbiol 54:25-34, 2016, compare whole-genome sequencing to traditional phenotypic methods of classifying meningococci. They demonstrate that for MenB in particular, sequencing-based methods are far superior to traditional methods, especially when it comes to characterizing carriage isolates. This has important implications for future surveillance.

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