The rise and fall of epidemic Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W135 meningitis in Burkina Faso, 2002-2005

Yves Traoré, Berthe Marie Njanpop-Lafourcade, Kokou Louis Sewonou Adjogble, Mathilde Lourd, Seydou Yaro, Boubacar Nacro, Aly Drabo, Isabelle Parent Du Châtelet, Judith E. Mueller, Muhamed Kheir Taha, Raymond Borrow, Pierre Nicolas, Jean Michel Alonso, Bradford D. Gessner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Background. During the period 2001-2002, Burkina Faso reported its first meningitis epidemic due to Neisseria meningitidis (Nm) serogroup W135, prompting concerns that this serogroup would persist as a cause of epidemic disease. Methods. During the period 2002-2005, hospital- and population-based surveillances were conducted in 3 districts in Burkina Faso. Etiology was determined by culture, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and latex agglutination. Reference laboratories determined phenotype and genotype. Results. Of 2004 subjects who received a lumbar puncture, 265 were identified as having Nm, including 93 who had Nm serogroup A (NmA) and 146 who had Nm serogroup W135 (NmW135). Over the study period, the proportion of cases due to NmW135 decreased by >75%, primarily because of decreased occurrence among young children and in a single district. During peak epidemic months, the annualized incidence of NmW135 decreased from 146 cases to <1 case per 100,000 population. All but 2 NmW135 isolates were phenotype W135: 2a:P1.5,2 (sequence type [ST]-11 clonal complex). All NmA isolates were phenotype A:4:P1-9 (ST-2859 of the ST-5 clonal complex). We identified 1 isolate from serogroup Y (ST-11 clonal complex), 1 isolate from serogroup X that was similar to strains previously associated with epidemic disease, and 1 isolate from serogroup W135 of the newly described ST-4375 complex. Conclusions. For unknown reasons, serogroup W135 achieved epidemic status, primarily among young children, and then largely disappeared over a short time period. The continued circulation of multiple strains with epidemic potential emphasizes the need for ongoing surveillance and the potential benefit of vaccines that are protective across serogroups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-822
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
the ethics review board of Centre Muraz and was supported by the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso.

Funding Information:
Potential conflicts of interest. B-M.N-L., M.L., I.P.C., J.E.M., and B.D.G. were employees of Agence de Médecine Préventive, which receives substantial financial support from Sanofi-Pasteur, one of the funders of the study and a manufacturer of meningococcal vaccines. All other authors: no conflicts.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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