Neisseria meningitidis W-135 carriage during the Hajj season 2003.Scand J Infect Dis. 2004; 36(4):264-8.SJ
During the 2003 Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, 344 pilgrims of 29 different nationalities were screened by means of a throat swab to detect Neisseria meningitidis carriage. N. meningitidis was isolated from 11 subjects; 2 were serogroup W-135, 1 serogroup B, and 8 were non-groupable. The results indicate a very low colonization rate for N. meningitidis among the tested cohort, with a predominance of non-groupable strains. These results, combined with a review of the published data, warrant a re-evaluation of current recommendations by the Saudi Ministry of Health for the use of ciprofloxacin for Saudi pilgrims departing at the end of the Hajj season. However, vaccination with the meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine, for all pilgrims, should continue to be recommended. The possibility of new strains arising as a cause of future meningococcal outbreaks should be considered, and annual surveillance may give an early warning.