The objective of this study was to define the epidemiological pattern of meningococcal disease in the autonomous region of Valencia, Spain, and the impact of a mass immunization campaign against serogroup C meningococcus. Data were obtained from a prospective surveillance program for invasive bacterial diseases in children < 15 y of age that began in the Valencia region on 1 December, 1995. During the period 1996-98, 213 cases of meningococcal disease were detected, representing an annual incidence of 11.3/100,000 children < 15 y. Serogroup C accounted for 31% and 38.5% of cases in 1996 and 1997, respectively (annual incidences of 2.9 and 5.4 cases/100,000 children < 15 y). An immunization campaign with the meningococcal C polysaccharide vaccine, which included all persons between 18 months and 19 y of age, began in late 1997 (vaccination coverage of 86%). In 1998, the annual incidence of meningococcal C disease fell to 1.4 cases per 100,000 children < 15 y of age. These results mirror the increase in the reported incidence of serogroup C meningococcal disease in Spain in the 1990s, a trend that was reversed after the introduction of the mass vaccination campaign. Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine seems to be an effective public health tool for the management of this serious communicable disease.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the DireccínoÁrea 4,Geralitaten Valenciana, IVESP (ref. 96:021), Fondo de Investaicionges Sani-tarias (ef.r97:0842) and Aventis Pasteur MSD, Spain.
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