Pharyngeal carriage of Neisseria species in the African meningitis belt

Kanny Diallo*, Caroline Trotter, Youssouf Timbine, Boubou Tamboura, Samba O. Sow, Bassira Issaka, Ibrahim D. Dano, Jean Marc Collard, Marietou Dieng, Aldiouma Diallo, Adane Mihret, Oumer A. Ali, Abraham Aseffa, Stephen L. Quaye, Akalifa Bugri, Isaac Osei, Kadidja Gamougam, Lodoum Mbainadji, Doumagoum M. Daugla, Galadima GadzamaZailani B. Sambo, Babatunji A. Omotara, Julia S. Bennett, Lisa S. Rebbetts, Eleanor R. Watkins, Maria Nascimento, Arouna Woukeu, Olivier Manigart, Ray Borrow, James M. Stuart, Brian M. Greenwood, Martin C.J. Maiden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Neisseria meningitidis, together with the non-pathogenic Neisseria species (NPNs), are members of the complex microbiota of the human pharynx. This paper investigates the influence of NPNs on the epidemiology of meningococcal infection. Methods: Neisseria isolates were collected during 18 surveys conducted in six countries in the African meningitis belt between 2010 and 2012 and characterized at the rplF locus to determine species and at the variable region of the fetA antigen gene. Prevalence and risk factors for carriage were analyzed. Results: A total of 4694 isolates of Neisseria were obtained from 46,034 pharyngeal swabs, a carriage prevalence of 10.2% (95% CI, 9.8-10.5). Five Neisseria species were identified, the most prevalent NPN being Neisseria lactamica. Six hundred and thirty-six combinations of rplF/fetA_VR alleles were identified, each defined as a Neisseria strain type. There was an inverse relationship between carriage of N. meningitidis and of NPNs by age group, gender and season, whereas carriage of both N. meningitidis and NPNs was negatively associated with a recent history of meningococcal vaccination. Conclusion: Variations in the prevalence of NPNs by time, place and genetic type may contribute to the particular epidemiology of meningococcal disease in the African meningitis belt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-677
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Infection
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MenAfriCar was funded by the Wellcome Trust ( 086546/Z/08/Z ) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ( 51251 ). Kanny Diallo holds a Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine. The funding sources had no role in the study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, in the writing of the report or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors.


  • African meningitis belt
  • Non-meningococcal Neisseria
  • Pharyngeal carriage


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