Skip to main content

The natural history of meningococcal carriage and disease

  • C. L. TROTTER (a1), N. J. GAY (a1) and W. J. EDMUNDS (a1)

The prevalence of Neisseria meningitidis carriage is highest in teenagers and lowest in young children. In contrast, invasive meningococcal disease is most common in young children with a smaller secondary peak in teenagers. Data on carriage and disease were analysed to quantify the risks of infection and disease by age and serogroup. The forces of infection for serogroups B, C, other meningococci and Neisseria lactamica were modelled together with the risk of disease given infection for serogroups B and C, using maximum likelihood to fit the models to the available data. The risk of meningococcal disease given infection declines steeply through childhood and is higher for serogroup C than for serogroup B. The secondary peak in disease in teenagers appears to be explained mostly by increased transmission although there is a suggestion that other factors may also contribute. These analyses provide important insights and may be used to guide further data collection and modelling studies.

Corresponding author
Modelling & Economics Unit, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5EQ, UK. (Email:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed