Invasive meningococcal disease is a serious infection that occurs worldwide. Neisseria meningitidis remains one of the leading causes of bacterial meningitis in all ages. Despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines against invasive meningococcal disease, few countries in Latin America implemented routine immunization programs with these vaccines. The Americas Health Foundation along with Fighting Infectious Disease in Emerging Countries recently sponsored a consensus conference. Six experts in infectious diseases from across the region addressed questions related to this topic and formulated the following recommendations: (1) standardized passive and active surveillance systems should be developed and carriage studies are mandatory; (2) a better understanding of the incidence, case fatality rates and prevalent serogroups in Latin America is needed; (3) countries should make greater use of the polymerase chain reaction assays to improve the sensitivity of diagnosis and surveillance of invasive meningococcal disease; (4) vaccines with broader coverage and more immunogenicity are desirable in young infants; (5) prevention strategies should include immunization of young infants and catch-up children and adolescents and (6) because of the crowded infant immunization schedule, the development of combined meningococcal vaccines and the coadministration with other infant vaccines should be explored.
From the *Fighting Infectious Diseases in Emerging Countries (FIDEC), University of Miami, Miami, FL; †Hospital de niños de Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires, Argentina; ‡Comité Nacional de Inmunizaciones, Ciudad de México, México; §Hospital del niño de Panamá. Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá; ¶Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Santa Casa, Sao Paulo, Brasil; and ‖Hospital de niños Luis Calvo Mackenna. Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Accepted for publication December 2, 2013.
This study was supported by unrestricted grant from Americas Health Foundation. The authors have no other funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.
Address for correspondence: Ricardo Walter Rüttimann, MD, 2050 Coral Way, Suite 407 Miami, FL 33145. E-mail: rruttimann@FIDEC-online.org.