Press Release

Minister Martin announces significant reduction in cases of Meningococcal Disease

Mr. Micheál Martin, TD, Minister for Health and Children is pleased to announce a 71% reduction in cases of Group C meningococcal disease in children under five years of age. Between October 2000 and September, 2001, 19 cases of Group C meningococcal disease have been notified in those under five years of age, compared to 66 cases in the same period the previous year.

In addition, between October 2000 and September, 2001, 33 cases of Group C meningococcal disease have been notified in children under 18 years of age (19 in under 5 years and 14 in 5-17 year olds), compared to 131 cases in the same period the previous year. This represents a 75% reduction in Group C meningococcal disease in those under 18 years of age.

Since October 2000, there have been four deaths due to this disease, three of which were in the 0 – 22 age group, compared to nine Group C deaths in the same period the previous year. The four Group C deaths that occurred in the past year were in unvaccinated individuals.

“In the year since the Meningococcal C vaccine was introduced in Ireland, it has had a very positive impact in reducing both morbidity and mortality due to Group C meningococcal disease. Overall, the incidence of the disease has been reduced by 72% in respect of the population as a whole compared to the previous year and the number of Group C deaths have also been reduced”, the Minister said.

In the past twelve months, there has been a 7.9% reduction in the incidence of Group B meningococcal disease. Between October 2000 and September 2001, 234 cases of Group B disease have been notified compared to 254 cases in the same period the previous year.