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UKMenCar4: A cross-sectional survey of asymptomatic meningococcal carriage amongst UK adolescents at a period of low invasive meningococcal disease incidence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Holly B Bratcher
  • Charlene M C Rodrigues
  • Adam Finn
  • Mandy Wootton
  • J Claire Cameron
  • Andrew Smith
  • Paul Heath
  • Shamez Ladhani
  • Matthew D Snape
  • Andrew J Pollard
  • Richard Cunningham
  • Raymond Borrow
  • Caroline Trotter
  • Stephen J Gray
  • Martin C J Maiden
  • Jenny M MacLennan
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118
JournalWellcome Open Research
Early online date6 Aug 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Aug 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 6 Aug 2019
DatePublished (current) - 28 Oct 2019


Carriage of Neisseria meningitidis, the meningococcus, is a prerequisite for invasive meningococcal disease (IMD), a potentially devastating infection that disproportionately afflicts infants and children. Humans are the sole known reservoir for the meningococcus, and it is carried asymptomatically in the nasopharynx of ~10% of the population. Rates of carriage are dependent on age of the host and social and behavioural factors. In the UK, meningococcal carriage has been studied through large, multi-centre carriage surveys of adolescents in 1999, 2000, and 2001, demonstrating carriage can be affected by immunisation with the capsular group C meningococcal conjugate vaccine, inducing population immunity against carriage. Fifteen years after these surveys were carried out, invasive meningococcal disease incidence had declined from a peak in 1999. The UKMenCar4 study was conducted in 2014/15 to investigate rates of carriage amongst the adolescent population during a period of low disease incidence. The protocols and methodology used to perform UKMenCar4, a large carriage survey, are described here.

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The acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.


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