Evolution of invasive meningococcal disease epidemiology in Europe, 2008 to 2017

Euro Surveill. 2022 Jan;27(3):2002075. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2022.27.3.2002075.


BackgroundInvasive meningococcal disease (IMD) epidemiology has fluctuated over the past 25 years and varies among serogroups, age groups and geographical locations.AimThis study analysed the evolution of European IMD epidemiology from 2008 to 2017 to identify trends.MethodsReported number of IMD cases and associated incidence were extracted from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Surveillance Atlas for Infectious Diseases for individual European countries. Epidemiology and its evolution were analysed by serogroup and age group.ResultsOverall IMD incidence decreased by 34.4% between 2008 and 2017. Serogroup B remained predominant in 2017; despite a 56.1% decrease over the 10-year period, the rate of decrease has slowed in recent years and varies by age group. Serogroup C was the second most prevalent serogroup until 2016. Its incidence decreased among individuals aged 1-24 years, the main population targeted by MenC vaccination campaigns, but increases have occurred in other age groups. Incidences of serogroups W and Y were low but increased by > 500% and > 130% (to 0.10 and 0.07/100,000) respectively, from 2008 to 2017. Considering all serogroups, a marked modification of the evolution trends by age group has occurred, with increases in incidence mainly affecting older age groups.ConclusionAlthough the overall IMD incidence decreased in Europe between 2008 and 2017, increases were observed for serogroups W and Y, and in the older population when considering all serogroups. It may be necessary to adapt current vaccination strategies to reflect epidemiological changes and their likely future evolution.

Keywords: Europe; Neisseria meningitidis; adolescents; elderly; epidemiology; evolution; invasive meningococcal disease; serogroup.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Meningococcal Infections* / epidemiology
  • Meningococcal Infections* / prevention & control
  • Meningococcal Vaccines*
  • Neisseria meningitidis*
  • Serogroup
  • Young Adult


  • Meningococcal Vaccines