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PLoS One. 2016 Jun 28;11(6):e0158524. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158524. eCollection 2016.

A Case-Control Study on the Risk Factors for Meningococcal Disease among Children in Greece.

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Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece.
Aghia Sophia Children's Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece.
National Reference Centre for Meningitis, National School of Public Health, Athens, Greece.



The aim of this study was to identify environmental or genetic risk factors that are associated with invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in children in Greece.


A case-control study was performed in 133 children (44 cases and 89 controls) aged between 0-14 years, who were hospitalized in a children's hospital in Athens. Demographics and possible risk factors were collected by the use of a structured questionnaire. To investigate the association of mannose binding lectin (MBL) with IMD, a frequency analysis of the haplotypes of the MBL2 gene and quantitative measurement of MBL serum protein levels were performed using Nanogen NanoChipR 400 technology and immuno-enzyme techniques, respectively.


The multivariate analysis revealed that changes in a child's life setting (relocation or vacation, OR = 7.16), paternal smoking (OR = 4.51), upper respiratory tract infection within the previous month (OR = 3.04) and the density of people in the house/100m2 (OR = 3.16), were independent risk factors associated with IMD. Overall 18.8% of patients had a MBL2 genotype with low functionality compared to 10.1% of healthy controls, but this was not statistically significant (p = 0.189).


Prevention strategies aimed at reducing parental smoking and other risk factors identified in this study could decrease the risk of IMD among children in Greece.

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