The number of laboratory confirmed cases of meningococcal infection in England and Wales rose in 1995 for the first time since 1990. Culture confirmed cases rose to 1459, an increase of 29% over the 1994 total, due largely to increased disease activity in the last quarter of 1995. Cases diagnosed by non-culture methods totalled 431, giving a total of 1890 laboratory confirmed cases. Notifications reported to the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys also increased to a similar extent. Northern regions generally had higher rates of disease activity and greater increases in rates. Meningococcal disease caused by serogroup C strains accounted for the main increase in culture confirmed cases and made up 32% of the total in 1995. Disease caused by C2a strains showed a particularly large increase. A change in the age distribution was noted with a greater proportion of patients in older age groups. Among group B isolates, B4 P1.4 strains continued to be identified most commonly.