BACKGROUND: Freshman college students living in residence halls have previously been identified as being at an increased risk for meningococcal disease. In this evaluation, we assess the incidence and characteristics of meningococcal disease in college-aged young adults in the United States.
METHODS: The incidence and relative risk (RR) of meningococcal disease among college students compared with noncollege students aged 18 to 24 years during 2014–2016 were calculated by using data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System and enhanced meningococcal disease surveillance. Differences in demographic characteristics and clinical features of meningococcal disease cases were assessed. Available meningococcal isolates were characterized by using slide agglutination, polymerase chain reaction, and whole genome sequencing.
RESULTS: From 2014 to 2016, 166 cases of meningococcal disease occurred in persons aged 18 to 24 years, with an average annual incidence of 0.17 cases per 100 000 population. Six serogroup B outbreaks were identified on college campuses, accounting for 30% of serogroup B cases in college students during this period. The RR of serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) disease in college students versus noncollege students was 3.54 (95% confidence interval: 2.21–5.41), and the RR of serogroups C, W, and Y combined was 0.56 (95% confidence interval: 0.27–1.14). The most common serogroup B clonal complexes identified were CC32/ET-5 and CC41/44 lineage 3.
CONCLUSIONS: Although the incidence is low, among 18- to 24-year-olds, college students are at an increased risk for sporadic and outbreak-associated MenB disease. Providers, college students, and parents should be aware of the availability of MenB vaccines.
- Accepted September 18, 2018.
- Copyright © 2019 by the American Academy of Pediatrics