Meningococcal W becomes predominant serogroup in Australia in 2016

11 January 2017

The number of cases of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) due to serogroup W (MenW) has been increasing across most jurisdictions in Australia in 2016. Due to this, the Commonwealth Department of Health, in collaboration with the states and territories, is closely monitoring the incidence of MenW in Australia in accordance with the Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease Incidents of National Significance (CDPlan).

The Chief Medical Officer of Australia has established a group with a focus on examining the current epidemiology and co-ordinating responses to MenW at the national level.

Summary

  • The number of cases of IMD and overall risk remains low; however, since 2015 serogroup W (MenW) has emerged as a significant cause of IMD with notifications increasing nearly five-fold between 2014 and 2016.
  • From 2002 to 2015 the predominant meningococcal serogroup in Australia was meningococcal B (MenB). However, in 2016, MenW became the predominant meningococcal serogroup in Australia.

Further information