Meningococcal W135 carriage; enhanced surveillance amongst east London Muslim pilgrims and their household contacts before and after attending the 2002 Hajj

Haitham El Bashir*, Pietro G. Coen, Elizabeth Haworth, Sue Taylor, Albert Mifsud, Ahsanullah El Baki, Jane Zuckerman, Stephen Gray, Robert Booy

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: For two successive years, 2000 and 2001, there was a world-wide outbreak of W135 meningococcal disease amongst pilgrims who attended the Hajj and in their contacts after returning home. Methods: Beginning January 2002, we offered meningococcal quadrivalent polysaccharide vaccine (against serogroups A, C, Y and W135) to pilgrims and collected a throat swab for meningococcal W135 carriage before and after their pilgrimage. Results: The overall Neisseria meningitidis carriage pre-Hajj was 8.3% and 6.3% post-Hajj. We found W135 carriage rates of 0.8% before and 0.6% after Hajj, respectively. 21% (36/174) of the pilgrims were treated with antibiotics for respiratory illness. Conclusion: The carriage of meningococcus W135 among UK pilgrims who visited the Hajj in 2002 was low. This contrasts with another study suggesting pilgrims frequently acquired N. meningitidis W135 carriage during 2001 Hajj. The use of the quadrivalent vaccine may account for this difference.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)13-15
    Number of pages3
    JournalTravel Medicine and Infectious Disease
    Volume2
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This work was supported by the Department of Health, England, Glaxo SmithKline (GSK) and The Public Health Laboratory Service (now Health Protection Agency). GSK provided the vaccine free of charge. The Department of Health and GSK had no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation or writing of the report.

    Keywords

    • Ciprofloxacin
    • Epidemic
    • Neisseria meningitidis
    • Throat swab
    • Travel

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