What is the evidence for giving chemoprophylaxis to children or students attending the same preschool, school or college as a case of meningococcal disease?

Epidemiol Infect. 2011 Nov;139(11):1645-55. doi: 10.1017/S0950268811001439. Epub 2011 Aug 11.


We performed a systematic literature review to assess the effectiveness of chemoprophylaxis for contacts of sporadic cases of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in educational settings. No studies directly compared IMD risk in contacts with/without chemoprophylaxis. However, compared to the background incidence, an elevated IMD risk was identified in settings without a general recommendation for chemoprophylaxis in pre-schools [pooled risk difference (RD) 58·2/10⁵, 95% confidence interval (CI) 27·3-89·0] and primary schools (pooled RD 4·9/10⁵, 95% CI 2·9-6·9) in the ~30 days after contact with a sporadic IMD case, but not in other educational settings. Thus, limited but consistent evidence suggests the risk of IMD in pre-school contacts of sporadic IMD cases is significantly increased above the background risk, but lower than in household contacts (pooled RD for household contacts with no chemoprophylaxis vs. background incidence: 480·1/10⁵, 95% CI 321·5-639·9). We recommend chemoprophylaxis for pre-school contacts depending on an assessment of duration and closeness of contact.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chemoprevention
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Meningococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Meningococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Meningococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Schools
  • Students*
  • Universities
  • Young Adult