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The Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin



The Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin

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Disease Control Bulletin


Territory Health Services, Centre for Disease Control


Northern Territory disease control bulletin; E-Journals; PublicationNT; Northern Territory disease control bulletin






Date:2002-03; This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Communicable diseases; Reporting; Northern Territory; Statistics; Periodicals

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Northern Territory Government

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Northern Territory disease control bulletin


v. 9 no. 1

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Northern Territory Government



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The Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin Vol 9, No.1, March 2002 19 New conjugate Meningococcal C vaccine Lesley Scott and Peter Markey, CDC Darwin Meningitec , marketed by Wyeth Australia, is the first meningococcal group C conjugate vaccine for prevention of meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C to be licensed. The vaccine is suitable for infants from 6 weeks of age1 and adults. It is a safe and efficacious vaccine expected to provide long term protection.2 Children under 12 months of age require 3 doses with an interval of at least one month between doses. For those over one year one dose is required.1 The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has established a working party reviewing meningococcal disease in Australia. This will include recommendations to the federal government about the possibility of introducing meningococcal group C conjugate vaccine into the standard schedule of vaccines. A decision is expected by mid to late 2002. As GPs may be questioned by their patients or the general public it is useful to review a few facts and the local data about meningococcal disease. Those most at risk of meningococcal disease are children 0-4 years and young adults from 15-24 years.3 The transmitting agent, Neisseria meningitidis, is transmitted by droplets through coughing, sneezing and from an infected persons saliva through kissing, sharing drink containers and other close personal contact.4 Asymptomatic nasopharyngeal carriage rates of 5-10 % are estimated in the general population.5 Meningococcal disease is uncommon in Australia with a national rate of 3.1 per 100,000 population in 1997.6 Below are some key points about meningococcal disease in the NT over the 11 years 1991 to 2001.7 109 cases of meningococcal disease with 30% being group C the proportion of cases which are group C appears to be decreasing with only 14% (6) of all cases being group C over the last 4 years mortality among all cases was 5.5% with mortality among all group C cases being 12.5% and accounting for 4 out of the total of 6 deaths (66.6%). In other states there is a greater proportion of cases that are group C (53% in Victoria). Group C is more serious than other serogroups with a higher mortality (NT 12.5%/national 15%) than in group B infections (NT 2.6%/national 6.4%).4 The polysaccharide meningococcal vaccines, Mencevax and Menomune, have been available for many years and are suitable for those over 2 years of age and protect against serogroups A, C, W135, and Y. In the NT this is recommended for patients with asplenia, HIV, and travellers to foreign countries with high prevalence. A booster dose is required after 3-5 years.8 Presently meningococcal group C conjugate vaccine is available via general practitioners on private prescription. Estimated cost is $70 - $106 per vaccine. References 1. Approved Prescribing Information for Wyeth Australias Meningococcal Group C Conjugate Vaccine. 2. Rosenstein NE, Perkins BA, Stephens DS, Popovic T, Hughes JM. Meningococcal Disease. N Engl J Med 2001; 344:1378-1388. 3. The Australian Meningococcal Surveillance Programme. Annual report of the Australian Meningococcal Surveillance Programme 2000. Commun Dis Intell 2001; 25(3):113-121. 4. CDNA, Guidelines for the early clinical and public health management of meningococcal disease in Australia. June 2001, 17. http://www. health.gov.au/pubhlth/cdi/pubs/mening.htm (last accessed 14-03-2002). 5. Chin J. (ed) Control of Communicable Diseases Manual. 2000 (17th ed) American Public Health Association. Washington. 6. Roche P, Spencer J, Merianos A. Editorial: Meningococcal disease. Commun Dis Intell 2001; 25 (3):126-129. 7. Communicable Diseases Surveillance System, CDC, DHCS, Darwin, NT. March 2002. 8. National Health and Medical Research Council. The Australian Immunisation Handbook. 7th Ed. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 2000. 164-168. *************