INTRODUCTION: Meningococcal colonization, or carriage, can progress to invasive meningococcal disease, a serious public health concern, with rapid progression of disease and severe consequences if left untreated. Information on meningococcal carriage and epidemiology in low/middle income American and Asian countries remains sparse. These data are crucial to ensure that appropriate preventive strategies such as vaccination can be implemented in these regions. The goal of this study was to summarize the Neisseria meningitidis carriage literature in low and middle income countries of the Americas and Asia.
METHODS: Target countries were categorized as low and middle income according to the International Monetary Fund classification of low income/developing economies and middle income/emerging market economies, respectively. A PubMed search identified English-language publications that examined carriage in these countries. Studies reporting the epidemiology of N. meningitidis carriage or assessing risk factors for carriage were included.
RESULTS: Fourteen studies from the Americas [Brazil (n = 7), Chile (n = 3), and Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Paraguay (n = 1 each)] and nine from Asia [China (n = 2), India (n = 3), and Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, and Thailand (n = 1 each)] were identified; an additional Cuban study from the authors' files was also included. Studies were not identified in many target countries, and substantial diversity was observed among study methodologies, populations, and time periods, thereby limiting comparison between studies. The carriage rate in the Americas ranged from 1.6% to 9.9% and from 1.4% to 14.2% in Asia. Consistent risk factors for carriage were not identified.
CONCLUSIONS: There is a lack of comprehensive and contemporary information on meningococcal carriage in low and medium income countries of the Americas and Asia. Future carriage studies should incorporate larger representative populations, a wider age range, and additional countries to improve our understanding of meningococcal epidemiology and disease control.
- Latin America
- Neisseria meningitidis