Meningococcal disease: The advances and challenges of meningococcal disease prevention

Ram Yogev*, Tina Tan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Vaccination as a means to prevent meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis is critical given the abrupt onset and rapid progression of this disease. Five serogroups-A, B, C, W-135 and Y-are responsible for the majority of cases. In developed countries, infants have the greatest risk of disease, with a smaller secondary peak observed in late adolescence. Vaccines utilizing the polysaccharide capsule are poorly immunogenic in young children but can reduce the incidence of meningococcal carriage in high-risk groups. In contrast, protein conjugate vaccines to polysaccharide capsules A, C, W-135 and Y have broadened the population protection from disease but their effect on meningococcal carriage and transmission is yet unknown except for monovalent meningococcal C conjugate that has been shown to reduce carriage. Challenges remain in providing direct protection to infants and protection against meningococcal B disease. To date, outer membrane vesicle vaccines have been used to control meningococcal B disease in epidemic settings and vaccine candidates against subcapsular antigens are in development, but a vaccine that confers long-lasting protection is unavailable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHuman vaccines
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Conjugate- Vaccine
  • Immunization
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Meningococcal vaccine
  • Neisseria meningitides
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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