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The epidemiology of meningococcal disease in Latin America 1945–2010: an unpredictable and changing landscape

  • M. A. P. SÁFADI (a1), S. GONZÁLEZ-AYALA (a2), A. JÄKEL (a3), H. WIEFFER (a3), C. MORENO (a4) and A. VYSE (a5)...

Summary

Meningococcal disease is mostly endemic in Latin America, with periodic occurrences of outbreaks and epidemics over the last few decades. This literature review summarizes the available epidemiological data for this region between 1945 and 2010. Incidence rates and serogroup distribution differ from country to country and over time. Serogroups A, B, and C have all been major causes of meningococcal disease since the 1970s. In the last decade serogroups W135 and Y may now be emerging in certain countries, with serogroup A virtually disappearing. Although progress has been made in improving and coordinating the surveillance of invasive disease, the uniformity and quality of reported data reflect the fact that the current surveillance systems focus on passive rather than active reporting, hence the reliability of data may vary between countries. Consideration of vaccination policies to control meningococcal disease can only be made with a sufficient understanding of the changing epidemiology in the region.

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The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence . The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: M. A. P. Sáfadi, M.D., Ph.D., Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Santa Casa de São Paulo, Alameda dos Indigenas, 228, ZIP 04059-060. São Paulo, Brazil. (Email: masafadi@uol.com.br)

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