SALIVA CAN TRANSFER BACTERIA
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.