Surveillance and control of meningococcal disease in the COVID-19 era: A Global Meningococcal Initiative review

J Infect. 2022 Mar;84(3):289-296. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2021.11.016. Epub 2021 Nov 24.


This review article incorporates information from the 4th Global Meningococcal Initiative summit meeting. Since the introduction of stringent COVID-19 infection control and lockdown measures globally in 2020, there has been an impact on IMD prevalence, surveillance, and vaccination compliance. Incidence rates and associated mortality fell across various regions during 2020. A reduction in vaccine uptake during 2020 remains a concern globally. In addition, several Neisseria meningitidis clonal complexes, particularly CC4821 and CC11, continue to exhibit resistance to antibiotics, with resistance to ciprofloxacin or beta-lactams mainly linked to modifications of gyrA or penA alleles, respectively. Beta-lactamase acquisition was also reported through horizontal gene transfer (blaROB-1) involving other bacterial species. Despite the challenges over the past year, progress has also been made on meningococcal vaccine development, with several pentavalent (serogroups ABCWY and ACWYX) vaccines currently being studied in late-stage clinical trial programmes.

Keywords: Antibiotic resistance; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Invasive meningococcal disease; Neisseria meningitidis; Pandemic; Serogroup; Sexual transmission; Vaccination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Humans
  • Meningococcal Infections* / epidemiology
  • Meningococcal Infections* / microbiology
  • Meningococcal Infections* / prevention & control
  • Meningococcal Vaccines* / therapeutic use
  • Neisseria meningitidis* / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Serogroup


  • Meningococcal Vaccines