Increase of invasive meningococcal serogroup W disease in Europe, 2013 to 2017

Manuel Krone, Steve Gray, Raquel Abad, Anna Skoczyńska, Paola Stefanelli, Arie van der Ende, Georgina Tzanakaki, Paula Mölling, Maria João Simões, Pavla Křížová, Stéphane Emonet, Dominique A. Caugant, Maija Toropainen, Julio Vazquez, Izabela Waśko, Mirjam J. Knol, Susanne Jacobsson, C. lia Rodrigues Bettencourt, Martin Musilek, Rita BornUlrich Vogel, Ray Borrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The total incidence of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in Europe has been declining in recent years; however, a rising incidence due to serogroup W (MenW), predominantly sequence type 11 (ST-11), clonal complex 11 (cc11), was reported in some European countries. Aim: The aim of this study was to compile the most recent laboratory surveillance data on MenW IMD from several European countries to assess recent trends in Europe. Methods: In this observational, retrospective study, IMD surveillance data collected from 2013–17 by national reference laboratories and surveillance units from 13 European countries were analysed using descriptive statistics. Results: The overall incidence of IMD has been stable during the study period. Incidence of MenW IMD per 100,000 population (2013: 0.03; 2014: 0.05; 2015: 0.08; 2016: 0.11; 2017: 0.11) and the proportion of this serogroup among all invasive cases (2013: 5% (116/2,216); 2014: 9% (161/1,761); 2015: 13% (271/2,074); 2016: 17% (388/2,222); 2017: 19% (393/2,112)) continuously increased. The most affected countries were England, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden. MenW was more frequent in older age groups (≥ 45 years), while the proportion in children (< 15 years) was lower than in other age groups. Of the culture-confirmed MenW IMD cases, 80% (615/767) were caused by hypervirulent cc11. Conclusion: During the years 2013–17, an increase in MenW IMD, mainly caused by MenW cc11, was observed in the majority of European countries. Given the unpredictable nature of meningococcal spread and the epidemiological potential of cc11, European countries may consider preventive strategies adapted to their contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1800245
JournalEuro Surveillance
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Cite this