An “unprecedented” resurgence. This Monday, November 14, the Pasteur Institute highlighted the results of a study published in the Journal of Infection and Public Health that warns of an “unprecedented” rebound in cases of meningococcal meningitis in France.
According to the medical research foundation, contaminations drastically decreased by 75% in 2020 and 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to health measures and restrictions, before increasing once these measures were lifted.
“Meningococcal meningitis experienced an unprecedented rebound in the fall of 2022 and today, in the fall of 2023, the number of cases is higher than the period preceding the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Samy Taha, author of the study. and researcher in the invasive bacterial infections unit of the Pasteur Institute.
In a press release, the Pasteur Institute indicates that 298 cases were recorded between January and September 2019, compared to 421 between January and September 2023, knowing that the winter peak has not yet occurred.
The young people most affected
The study explains this explosion of cases for two reasons. The first is “the decrease in general immunity after the reduction in the circulation of strains” and the second “the decrease in vaccination, which fell by 20% for vaccination against meningococcus C during the first confinement.” Enough to make the population “naïve” towards bacteria.
These bacteria are also constantly mutating, as demonstrated by the new affected patients. “If all age categories are affected, it turns out that those most affected by this new wave of meningitis are young people between 16 and 24 years old,” commented Ala-Eddine Deghmane, deputy director of the National Reference Center for meningococci at the Pasteur Institute. .
Researchers are also concerned about an even larger resurgence in the coming months, linked to the annual flu epidemic. “The flu virus creates a favorable context for the development of meningococcal bacteria,” recalls the Pasteur Institute. End-of-year family gatherings could also spread bacteria more quickly.
Source: BFM TV