The 5 Primary Serogroups That Cause Meningococcal Disease

There are 5 primary serogroups of the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria that cause meningococcal disease.1

Meningococcal disease is an uncommon, but serious, threat to your patients. It is caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, which can be further classified into serogroups. The most common clinical presentations of meningococcal disease are meningitis and septicemia. Meningococcal disease affects all age groups, but incidence is highest among adolescents and young adults, infants younger than 1 year, and the elderly; incidence and mortality rates peak in persons aged 19 years.1-5

Quadrivalent meningococcal vaccines (for A, C, Y, and W) have been approved

in the United States since 2005. Vaccines for serogroup B have been available since 2014.6-9


There are vaccines approved

in the United States for 5 serogroups of meningococcal disease — A, C, Y, W, and B.6,7

A lasting threat—the impact

Survivors of meningococcal disease may be affected by significant long-term and permanent medical disabilities.4,11


References: 1. Poland GA. Prevention of meningococcal disease: current use of polysaccharide and conjugate vaccines. Clin Infect Dis. 2010;50(suppl 2):S45-S53. 2. Lucidarme J, Comanducci M, Findlow J, et al. Characterization of fHbp, nhba (gna2132), nadA, porA, sequence type (ST), and genomic presence of IS1301 in group B meningococcal ST269 clonal complex isolates from England and Wales. J Clin Microbiol. 2009;47(11):3577-3585. 3. Racloz VN, Luiz SJD. The elusive meningococcal meningitis serogroup: a systematic review of serogroup B epidemiology. BMC Infect Dis. 2010;10:175.  4. Borg J, Christie D, Coen PG, et al. Outcomes of meningococcal disease in adolescence: prospective, matched-cohort study. Pediatrics. 2009;123:e502-e509. 5. Christensen H, May M, Bowen L, et al. Meningococcal carriage by age: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2010;10(12):853-861. 6. McNeil LK, Zagursky RJ, Lin SL, et al. Role of factor H binding protein in Neisseria meningitidis virulence and its potential as a vaccine candidate to broadly protect against meningococcal disease. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2013;77(2):234-252. 7. Cohn AC, MacNeil JR, Harrison LH, et al. Changes in Neisseria meningitidis disease epidemiology in the United States, 1998-2007: implications for prevention of meningococcal disease. Clin Infect Dis. 2010;50(2):184-191. 8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR. 2007;56(31):785-812. 9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Licensure of a meningococcal conjugate vaccine for children aged 2 through 10 years and updated booster dose guidance for adolescents and other persons at increased risk for meningococcal disease—Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011. MMWR. 2011;60(30):1018-1019. 10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summary of notifiable diseases—United States, 2013. MMWR. 2013;60(53):719-732. 11. Vyse A, Anonychuk A, Jäkel A, et al. The burden and impact of severe and long-term sequelae of meningococcal disease. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2013;11(6):597-604.