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Pediatric Invasive Meningococcal Disease, Auckland, New Zealand (Aotearoa), 2004-2020

Abstract

New Zealand (Aotearoa) experienced a Neisseria menin-gitidis serogroup B epidemic during 1991-2006, and inci-dence remains twice that of other high-income countries. We reviewed clinical, laboratory, and immunization data for children <15 years of age with laboratory-confirmed invasive meningococcal disease in Auckland, New Zea-land, during January 1, 2004-December 31, 2020. Of 319 cases in 318 children, 4.1% died, and 23.6% with follow-up data experienced sequelae. Children of Maori and Pacific ethnicity and those living in the most deprived areas were overrepresented. Eighty-one percent were positive for N. meningitidis serogroup B, 8.6% for sero-group W, 6.3% for serogroup C, and 3.7% for serogroup Y. Seventy-nine percent had bacteremia, and 63.9% had meningitis. In New Zealand, Maori and Pacific children are disproportionately affected by this preventable dis-ease. N. meningitidis serogroup B vaccine should be in-cluded in the New Zealand National Immunization Sched-ule to address this persistent health inequity.

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