Neisseria meningitidis is a major world-wide cause of meningitis. N. meningitidis related diseases have become more pronounced in the last decade and changes in meningococcal-associated disease have opened new opportunities for prevention and vaccine development. Although multivalent vaccines have been developed against the N. meningitidis serogroups A, C, W-135, and Y, four of the most common serogroups, the diversity of N. meningitidis has increased the number of challenges for the development of an effective vaccine against all currently identified strains. Without the development of a vaccine against serogroup B, it will be difficult to effectively prevent global meningococcal disease. This review provides a background on N. meningitidis biology and focuses on the current status of meningococcal research and vaccine development. In addition, the efficacy of the currently marketed N. meningitidis vaccines will be discussed.
Neisseria meningitidis, meningococcal vaccines, meningitis
University of Pittsburgh,Graduate School of Public Health, Infectious Diseases and Microbiology,Division of Infectious Diseases, Scaife Hall, Room S868, 3550 Terrace Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.