New data and analysis, published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), shows a recent, sharp increase in cases of meningococcal group B (MenB) disease in university students in England, following the withdrawal of COVID-19 restrictions.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, restrictions to reduce transmission of COVID-19 had also led to rapid reductions in transmission of some types of meningitis-causing bacteria, with rates of meningococcal disease at a historic low until September 2021.
That low is now showing early evidence of reversing, with cases of meningococcal disease in teenagers and young adults rising sharply through Autumn 2021. Based on UKHSA data, cases in 15-19 year olds are now exceeding pre-pandemic levels, with nearly all cases caused by meningococcal group B (MenB).
In contrast, meningococcal group W (MenW) accounted for just 6% of cases, and no cases of MenY or MenC were observed from September to November 2021. This suggests that the MenACWY vaccination programme, targeted at teenagers since 2015, is maintaining low rates of the disease.
Read more at Meningitis Research Foundation
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