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Disco fever: epidemic meningococcal disease in northeastern Argentina associated with disco patronage


Neisseria meningitidis is a leading cause of adult meningitis worldwide. From 5 to 14 August 1996, 8 cases of meningococcal disease occurred in Corrientes city (population 306,000) in northeastern Argentina. Those infected ranged in age from 15 to 45 years (median, 18.5). To determine risk factors for infection, a case-control study was done. Infecting isolates were serogrouped and underwent phenotyping by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Those infected were significantly more likely than those not infected to have had exposure to passive or active cigarette smoke or to have attended a particular disco. Isolates available from 6 case-patients were all serogroup C; all had identical MLEE and PFGE patterns. These data suggest that dance clubs or discos may be a focus of transmission of N. meningitidis among young people.

Cookson ST, Corrales JL, Lotero JO, Regueira M, Binsztein N, Reeves MW, Ajello G, Jarvis WR

J. Infect. Dis. 1998 Jul;178(1):266-9

PMID: 9652452