Background: Patients with terminal complement pathway deficiency (TPD) are susceptible to recurrent invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). Neisseria meningitidis (Nm) strains infecting these patients are poorly documented in the literature.
Methods: We identified patients with TPD and available Nm strains isolated during IMD. We investigated the genetic basis of the different TPDs and the characteristics of the Nm strains.
Results: We included 56 patients with C5 (n = 8), C6 (n = 20), C7 (n = 18), C8 (n = 9), or C9 (n = 1) deficiency. Genetic study was performed in 47 patients and 30 pathogenic variants were identified in the genes coding for C5 (n = 4), C6 (n = 5), C7 (n = 12), C8 (n = 7), and C9 (n = 2). We characterized 61 Nm strains responsible for IMD in the 56 patients with TPD. The most frequent strains belonged to groups Y (n = 27 [44%]), B (n = 18 [30%]), and W (n = 8 [13%]). Hyperinvasive clonal complexes (CC11, CC32, CC41/44, and CC269) were responsible for 21% of IMD cases. The CC23 predominates and represented 26% of all invasive isolates. Eleven of the 15 clonal complexes identified fit to 12 different clonal complexes belonging to carriage strains.
Conclusions: Unusual meningococcal strains with low level of virulence similar to carriage strains are most frequently responsible for IMD in patients with TPD.
Keywords: Neisseria meningitidis; complement; membrane attack complex.; primary immunodeficiency; terminal complement pathway.
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