University of Leicester
e024343.full.pdf (779.75 kB)

Serogroup-specific meningococcal carriage by age group: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Download (779.75 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2019-07-08, 10:29 authored by ME Peterson, Y Li, H Shanks, R Mile, H Nair, MH Kyaw, D Amicizia, CD Bayliss, LC Campos, PR Cleary, V Delbos, S Esposito, PA Kristiansen, SA Mbaeyi, NJ Oldfield, D Panatto, F Rodrigues, HM Soeters, DPJ Turner, A Xu
Objective Neisseria meningitidis carriage prevalence has known variation across the lifespan, but it is unclear whether carriage varies among meningococcal capsular groups. Therefore, we aimed to characterise group-specific meningococcal carriage by age group and world region from 2007 to 2016. Design Systematic review and meta-analysis. Data sources MEDLINE, Embase, Global Health Database, WHO Global Health Library, Web of Science, Current Contents Connects, China National Knowledge Infrastructure and Wanfang were systematically searched. Database searches were conducted through July 2018 and Google Scholar forward searches of included studies were conducted through August 2018. References of included studies and relevant conference abstracts were also searched to identify additional articles for inclusion. Eligibility criteria Studies were eligible for inclusion if they reported capsular group-specific meningococcal carriage in a healthy population of a specified age group and geographical region. For this review, only studies conducted between 2007 and 2016 were included. Data extraction and synthesis Data were independently extracted by two authors into Microsoft Access. Studies were assessed for risk of bias using the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist for Studies Reporting Prevalence Data. Studies eligible for inclusion in quantitative analyses by pre-specified age groups were pooled using random effects meta-analyses. Results are reported by capsular group, age group and WHO region. Where meta-analyses were not appropriate, study results were discussed narratively. Results 7511 articles were identified and 65 were eligible for inclusion. Adolescents and young adults were the focus of many studies (n=24), especially in the Americas and Europe. Studies from China and Africa, typically, included data from a wider age range. The overall carriage prevalence varied markedly by age group and region. Based on the available data, 21 studies were included in meta-analyses reporting serogroup carriage for: all ages in Africa, 18–24-year olds in the Americas, and 11–17 and 18–24-year olds in Europe. Capsular groups W, X, Y and ‘other’ (non-ABCWXY, including non-groupable) were the most prevalent in Africa, and 5–17-year olds had higher carriage prevalence than other age groups. ‘Other’ serogroups (11.5%, 95% CI 1.6% to 16.1%) were the most common among 18–24-year olds from the Americas. In Europe, 18–24-year old were carriers more frequently than 11–17-year olds, and groups B (5.0%, 95% CI 3.0% to 7.5%), Y (3.9%, 95% CI 1.3% to 7.8%) and ‘other’ (6.4%, 95% CI 3.1% to 10.8%) were the most commonly carried in the older age group. Conclusions Of the age groups included in the analysis, carriage patterns by age were similar across capsular groups within a region but differed between regions. Data gaps remain for age- and capsular group-specific carriage in many regions, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean and South-East Asia. As such, clear and robust conclusions about the variation of capsular group-specific carriage by age group and WHO region were unable to be determined. PROSPERO registration number CRD42017074671.


This work was supported by Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. MHK is an employee of Sanofi Pasteur, Inc .and had a role in the study conception, data interpretation and preparation of the manuscript. YL is supported by a scholarship from the China Scholarship Council. The China Scholarship Council had no role in this study.



BMJ Open 2019;9:e024343

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF LIFE SCIENCES/Biological Sciences/Genetics and Genome Biology


  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

BMJ Open 2019;9:e024343


BMJ Publishing Group



Acceptance date


Copyright date


Available date


Publisher version



Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Publications


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager