Meningococcal disease in the Middle East: A report from the Global Meningococcal Initiative

Seif S. Al-Abri, Musallam Yunus Abuhasan, Soha Shawqi A. Albayat, Xilian Bai, Hamad Bastaki, Ray Borrow, Dominique A. Caugant, Ghassan Dbaibo, Ala Eddine Deghmane, Ener Cagri Dinleyici, Nedal Ghuneim, Mohamud Sheek-Hussein, Jay Lucidarme, Sean Leng, Maria G. Koliou, Marco A.P. Sáfadi, Jameela Al Salman, Tarek Al-Sanouri, Vinny Smith, Muhamed Kheir TahaJulio Vázquez, Claire Wright, Saber Yezli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This review details recent findings from the Global Meningococcal Initiative's (GMI) recent meeting on the surveillance and control strategies for invasive meningococcal disease in the Middle East. The nature of case reporting and notification varies across the region, with many countries using bacterial meningitis as an IMD case definition in lieu of meningitis and septicaemia. This may overlook a significant burden associated with IMD leading to underreporting or misreporting of the disease. Based on these current definitions, IMD reported incidence remains low across the region, with historical outbreaks mainly occurring due to the Hajj and Umrah mass gatherings. The use of case confirmation techniques also varies in Middle Eastern countries. While typical microbiological techniques, such as culture and Gram staining, are widely used for characterisation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is utilised in a small number of countries. PCR testing may be inaccessible for several reasons including sample transportation, cost, or a lack of laboratory expertise. These barriers, not exclusive to PCR use, may impact surveillance systems more broadly. Another concern throughout the region is potentially widespread ciprofloxacin resistance since its use for chemoprophylaxis remains high in many countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infection
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Meningococcal disease
  • Middle East
  • Serogroup
  • Surveillance
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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