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Preventing meningococcal infection

Abstract

Meningococcal disease continues to kill small children and young adults. The disease is usually sporadic, but in England and Wales about 4 people each year still catch the disease from another documented case or a carrier, usually in the same house. Household contacts are 144 times more likely to suffer the disease than the general population,1 even though most are now given chemoprophylaxis. Contacts are at greatest risk of catching the disease in the first week after diagnosis of the index case but remain at risk for several months.1 How should chemoprophylaxis and vaccination be used to prevent the spread of meningococcal disease?

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