Decline in meningococcal antibody levels in African children 5 years after vaccination and the lack of an effect of booster immunization

J Infect Dis. 1993 May;167(5):1212-6. doi: 10.1093/infdis/167.5.1212.


Antibodies to group A meningococcal polysaccharide were measured by hemagglutination (HA) and by ELISA in sera obtained from Gambian children before vaccination and 3 weeks, 2 years, and 5 years after vaccination with a group A + group C meningococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine. Children were 1-4 years old at the time of vaccination. Most showed a good initial response to vaccination, including those aged 1-2 years. However, antibody titers declined progressively during follow-up, and 5 years after vaccination, antibody titers measured by both HA and ELISA had returned to prevaccination levels. This decline was not influenced significantly by a booster dose of vaccine given 2 years after initial immunization. Administration of malaria chemoprophylaxis reduced the rate at which antibody levels fell after initial immunization. Sustained protection of children against group A meningococcal disease will require the development of vaccines that are immunogenic in infants and that can induce T cell memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Gambia / epidemiology
  • Hemagglutination
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Secondary*
  • Infant
  • Malaria / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / epidemiology
  • Meningitis, Meningococcal / immunology*
  • Meningococcal Vaccines
  • Neisseria meningitidis / immunology*
  • Vaccination


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Meningococcal Vaccines