Background: Meningococcal disease remains a major concern in populations living under crowded conditions. Following the 1995 report of several cases of meningococcal disease in Israeli soldiers, the Department of Epidemiology of the Army Health Branch, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) adopted an immunization policy for all recruits. The aim of the study was to summarize the IDF experience to date. Methods: The study population included all compulsory and permanent personnel of both sexes serving in the IDF from 1983 to 2007. Ages ranged from 18 to 55 years, although the majority of subjects was younger than 22 years. Meningococcal disease was defined as the isolation of Neisseria meningitidis from blood or cerebrospinal fluid. Results: The person-time incidence rate of vaccine-preventable meningococcal disease dropped from 1.31 cases per 100,000 person-years in 1983-1994, the period preceding the start of immunization, to 0 in 1995-2007 (P < .001). Conclusion: The meningococcal immunization policy of the IDF led to a dramatic drop in the incidence of vaccine-preventable meningococcal disease.
- meningococcal disease