Surveillance report Open Access
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The new meningococcal C conjugate vaccine became available in Spain and was included in the infant vaccination schedule in 2000. A catch-up campaign was carried out in children under six years of age. As a consequence, the incidence of meningococcal disease caused by serogroup C has fallen sharply during the last three epidemiological years in Spain. The risk of contracting serogroup C disease in 2002/2003 fell by 58% when compared with the season before the conjugate vaccine was introduced. There was also an important decrease in mortality. Three deaths due to serogroup C occurred in the age groups targeted for vaccination in 2002/2003, compared with 30 deaths in the same age groups in the season before the launch of the vaccine campaign. In the catch-up campaign the vaccine coverage reached values above 92%. For the 2001, 2002 and 2003 routine childhood immunisation programme coverage values ranged from 90% to 95%. During the past three years a total of 111 cases of serogroup C disease have been reported in patients in the vaccine target group. Most of the vaccination failures occurred during the epidemiological year 2002/2003. Eight (53%) vaccine failures occurred in children who had been routinely immunised in infancy, and could be related to a lost of protection with time since vaccination. The isolation of several B:2a:P1.5 strains (ST-11 lineage) is noteworthy. These may have their origin in C:2a:P1.5 strains which, after undergoing genetic recombination at the capsular operon level, express serogroup B. These strains could have relevant epidemic potential.


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