Carriage of Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria lactamica in infants and children

J Infect Dis. 1978 Feb;137(2):112-21. doi: 10.1093/infdis/137.2.112.


Asymptomatic carriage of Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria lactamica was studied in a total of 2,969 healthy infants and children in Danbury, Conn., between October 1971 and June 1975. The prevalence of N. meningitidis averaged 0.71% during the first four years of life and increased to 5.4% by 14--17 years. Rates of carriage of N. lactamica increased from 3.8% in three-month-old infants to a peak of 21.0% at 18 months and then declined to 1.8% by 14--17 years of age. Of the children who acquired N. lactamica, 66% developed fourfold or greater rises in titers of IgG antibody to groups A, B, and/or C meningococci as determined by immunofluorescence compared with only 5% of control children. Of new carriers of N. lactamica, 40% developed increased titers of bactericidal antibody to groups A, B, and/or C meningococci as compared with 7% of noncarriers. Carriage of N. lactamica may assist in the development of natural immunity to N. meningitidis by induction of cross-reactive antibodies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Carrier State
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross Reactions
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Nasopharynx / microbiology
  • Neisseria / growth & development
  • Neisseria / immunology
  • Neisseria / isolation & purification*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / growth & development
  • Neisseria meningitidis / immunology
  • Neisseria meningitidis / isolation & purification*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial