RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Prevalence, Risk Factors and Molecular Characteristics of Meningococcal Carriage Among Brazilian Adolescents.

BACKGROUND: In 2010, introduction of the meningococcal C conjugate vaccine in Brazil for children <2 years provided an immediate reduction in the incidence rates of disease among the age groups targeted for the vaccine, but no early impact was observed in unvaccinated age groups. Knowledge about meningococcal carriage is crucial for improving our understanding of the disease epidemiology and for designing effective vaccination programs. Taking in account the very limited published data currently available describing meningococcal carriage in Brazil, we performed a study to evaluate the prevalence of Neisseria meningitidis carriage among adolescent students.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2012 to assess the prevalence of meningococcal carriage among a representative sample of 1208 students 11-19 years of age in Campinas, Brazil. Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of isolated carriage strains and the effect of potential risk factors for carriage were also analyzed.

RESULTS: The overall carriage prevalence was 9.9% (95% confidence interval, 8.3-11.8%), with dominance of serogroup C (1.32%), followed by serogroups B (0.99%), E (0.74%), Y (0.49%) and W (0.25%). A lower level of education of the parents was independently associated with a higher risk of carriage. A high diversity of genotypes was found among carriage strains.

CONCLUSIONS: The evidence gathered during this study provides estimates of carriage prevalence in Brazilian adolescents, showing an unusually high dominance of serogroup C. These results have important implications in future strategies to optimize the impact of the current meningococcal C vaccination program in Brazil.

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