Transmission of Neisseria meningitidis among asymptomatic military recruits and antibody analysis

Epidemiol Infect. 1992 Oct;109(2):241-53. doi: 10.1017/s0950268800050196.


Following the occurrence of a case of systemic meningococcal disease in a military camp in Norway, throat cultures and blood samples were collected from 33 healthy individuals belonging to the same troop as the patient (troop A) and from 29 individuals from a different troop (troop B) in the same camp. Serological studies showed that 91% of the recruits had bactericidal antibodies against the disease-causing strain. The isolates of Neisseria meningitidis recovered from the throat cultures were serogrouped, serotyped, and assigned to a clone on the basis of an analysis of the electrophoretic mobilities of 14 metabolic enzymes. None of the 23 carriers in troop A harboured the clone responsible for the case of disease, but 6 carried isolates of the same electrophoretic type, ET-7, which was not identified in any of the 19 carriers of troop B. Individuals in troop A were resampled 2 and 17 weeks after the meningococcal disease episode. Five of the carriers had acquired different clones and one of them changed clone twice in that period. Four of the six newly acquired clones had previously been identified in other carriers of troop A, demonstrating transmission of clones among individuals living and working in close proximity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Carrier State / blood
  • Carrier State / diagnosis*
  • Carrier State / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Meningococcal Infections / diagnosis*
  • Meningococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Meningococcal Infections / transmission
  • Military Personnel*
  • Neisseria meningitidis*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pharyngitis / diagnosis*
  • Pharyngitis / epidemiology
  • Phenotype
  • Serotyping


  • Antibodies, Bacterial