There were 159 cases of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in England between January and March this year, the national Meningococcal Reference Unit has reported. IMD cases were 12 per cent lower during these three months compared with 180 cases in the same period in 2019.
Meningococcal capsular group B (MenB) accounted for 69 per cent of all cases, followed by meningococcal capsular group W (MenW) (13%), meningococcal capsular group Y (MenY; 9%) and meningococcal capsular group C (6%). The number of MenB cases was 110 in Q1 2020 and 108 in Q1 2019. MenW cases were 49 per cent lower than the same period in 2019. The number of cases of MenY disease was 29 per cent lower in Q1 in 2020 compared with 2019. There was one confirmed case of meningococcal capsular group E so far this year.
MenB accounted for the majority of IMD cases in children aged less than five years (83%), 79 per cent in those aged five years to 64 years and 27 per cent individuals aged ≥65 years.
Of 21 MenW cases between January 2020 and March 2020, half (52 per cent) were aged ≥65 years. Adults aged 25-64 years accounting for a third of cases (seven cases). Two infants aged less than one year and one child aged five years to nine years were confirmed with MenW disease. There were no cases of MenW disease in individuals aged 10-24 years during this period.
It is anticipated that lockdown measures due to the COVID19 pandemic will further reduce cases of IMD from April 2020.
It is important that young people continue to be encouraged to be immunised, particularly if they are entering higher education Institutions.