Meningococcal disease

This section presents data and statistics on meningococcal disease for children aged 0–14 years. You can download factsheets from the Downloads box.

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection. It can cause meningitis, blood poisoning (septicaemia), and even death. Household crowding increases the risk of meningococcal disease in children aged 0–16 years [1]. Second-hand smoke exposure is also associated with an increased risk of meningococcal disease in children [2,3].

Deaths from meningococcal disease

A small number of children die from meningococcal disease each year in New Zealand. In 2014, two children aged  0–14 years died from meningococcal disease (Figure 1).

Figure 1:  Annual number of meningococcal disease deaths, children aged 0–14 years, 2001–2014
Fig 1:  Annual number of meningococcal disease deaths, children aged 0–14 years, 2001–2014
Source: New Zealand Mortality Collection

 

The rate of meningococcal notifications has doubled since 2014

In 2018, out of a total of 120 meningococcal disease notifications in New Zealand, 46 were children aged 0–14 years. The notification rate has doubled from 2.4 per 100,000 in 2014 to 4.9 per 100,000 in 2018 (Figure 2).


Figure 2:  Meningococcal disease notification rate, children aged 0–14 years, 2007–2018 (crude rate per 100,000)
Fig 1: Notification rate for meningococcal disease in children 0-14 years

Source: EpiSurv, ESR

 

Meningococcal Group B continues to be the most dominant strain in children

Meningococcal Group B continues to be the most prevalent of the serogroups in both children and adults. Since mid-2017, there has been a sudden rise in cases of MenW in adults and children [4]. The number of MenW notifications in children increased from two notifications in 2017 to 11 in 2018 (Figure 3).

Figure 3:  Number of meningococcal disease notifications in children aged 0–14 years, by serogroup, 2007–2018Fig 2

Source: EpiSurv, ESR

 

Infants have the highest meningococcal disease notification rate

Between 2007 and 2018, infants had the highest notification rates of meningococcal disease compared to their older counterparts(Figure 4). 

Figure 4:  Meningococcal disease notification rate in children aged 0–14 years, by age group, 2007–2018 (crude rate per 100,000) 
Fig 4

Source: EpiSurv, ESR

 

Māori, Pacific, and children living in more deprived areas have the highest rates

Between 2006 and 2018, Māori and Pacific children aged 0–14 years continue to experience higher meningococcal notification rates than their European/Other counterparts (Figure 5). Since 2014–15, rates for both Māori and Pacific children have been increasing while rates for European/Other children have been relatively stable. 

Figure 5:  Meningococcal disease notification rate in children aged 0–14 years, two-year moving averages, by prioritised ethnic group, 2006–2018 (crude rate per 100,000)
Fig 5

Source: EpiSurv, ESR 

 

Children living in the most deprived areas had the highest notification rate for meningococcal disease than other children in 2016–18 (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Meningococcal disease notification rate in children aged 0–14 years, by NZDep2013 quintiles, 2016–18 (crude rate per 100,000)
Fig 6

Source: EpiSurv, ESR

 

Northland DHB had the highest rates of meningococcal disease in 2009–18

In the ten years (2009–18), children living in the Northland DHB had the highest rate of meningococcal disease (10.1 per 100,000). There have been several regional outbreaks over this time, including a recent outbreak of the group W disease in Northland in October 2018. The Ministry of Health then launched a targeted vaccination programme in December 2018 for those aged 9 months–4 years and 13–18 years to control the outbreak [5].

See the factsheet for more details (in the Downloads box).

Information about the data

Meningococcal disease notifications

Source: EpiSurv notifications surveillance database, ESR.

Definition: Notifications of meningococcal disease in children aged 0–14 years. Rates have been presented per 100,000 children (or per 100,000 children per year, where multiple years have been combined). 95% confidence intervals are shown on the graphs.  

For more information about this indicator, see the metadata sheet (in the Downloads box).  

References

  1. Baker MG, McDonald A, Zhang J, et al. 2013. Infectious diseases attributable to household crowding in New Zealand: A systematic review and burden of disease estimate. Wellington: He Kainga Oranga/ Housing and Health Research Programme, University of Otago.
  2. Murray RL, Britton J, Leonardi-Bee J. 2012. Second-hand smoke exposure and the risk of invasive meningococcal disease in children: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health 12:1062.
  3. Lee CC, Middaugh N, Howie SRC, et al. 2010. Association of second hand smoke exposure with pediatric invasive bacterial disease and bacterial carriage: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Medicine 7(12): e1000374. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000374
  4. ESR. 2019. Notifiable Diseases In New Zealand Annual Report 2017. Porirua: Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited. Available online: https://surv.esr.cri.nz/PDF_surveillance/AnnualRpt/AnnualSurv/2017/2017AnnualNDReport_FINAL.pdf (accessed 04/03/2020).
  5. ESR. 2020. Notifiable Diseases In New Zealand Annual Report 2018. Porirua: Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited. Available online: https://surv.esr.cri.nz/PDF_surveillance/AnnualRpt/AnnualSurv/2018/2018AnnualNDReport_FINAL.pdf (accessed 15/09/2020).
Downloads Useful links Back to Top