Epidemiology and Prevention of Meningococcal Meningitis: The Role of Vaccines

DOI: 10.6525/TEB.20160223.32(4).001

Su-Hsing Chen, En-Tzu Wang, Wei-Ju Su, Jer-Jea Yen

2016 Vol.32 NO.4

Correspondence Author: Su-Hsing Chen

  • Acute Infectious Diseases Division,Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan


Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitides. Clinically, it often appears with acute severe complications such as meningitis, bacteremia and septicemia, and is likely to cause sequelae. The most effective method of prevention is vaccination. In recent years, with the wide use of vaccines, the incidence rate of the disease has dropped significantly. 

The epidemic type varies in different regions, recently, serogroup B meningococcus has become the major pathogen among meningococcal meningitis in many countries. Therefore, new serogroup B vaccines (Bexsero® and Trumenba®) have played an important role in disease prevention.

Since 2006, the annual incidence of meningococcal meningitis in Taiwan has reduced to less than 0.1 case per 100,000 populations. Compared to countries in Europe and North America, Taiwan is a low incidence country. Although recently, most of meningococcal meningitis cases in Taiwan were identified as serogroup B, the number of cases was low and most were sporadic. Therefore, antibiotic treatment and prophylaxis are still the primary measures on disease prevention.

Keywords:Meningococcal meningitis, Neisseria meningitides, Serogroup B meningococcus vaccine