SALIVA CAN TRANS­FER BAC­TE­RIA

The Northern Advocate - - 48 Hours/cover Story -

New Zealand out­breaks in­clude group A in 1985/86 in Auck­land. The most re­cent group C out­break was in North­land dur­ing 2012. Dur­ing 1991-2007, a New Zealand-only strain of group B caused an epi­demic, mainly af­fect­ing in­fants and un­der-5-year-olds.

In New Zealand, in­fants and chil­dren aged un­der 5 years and ado­les­cents aged 15–19 years have an in­creased risk of meningo­coc­cal dis­ease. Ma¯ori, par­tic­u­larly in­fants aged un­der 1 year, and Pa­cific peo­ples, have a higher risk than other eth­nic groups.

The bac­te­ria are com­monly car­ried in the nose and throat and car­riage rates are high­est in older teenagers and young adults. The bac­te­ria can be trans­ferred from per­son to per­son through con­tact with saliva, such as in­ti­mate kiss­ing. The un­der­ly­ing rea­sons for why the in­va­sion of life-threat­en­ing bac­te­ria oc­curs in some in­di­vid­u­als are not well un­der­stood.

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