Meningococcal W Disease

This page contains information regarding Meningococcal W disease for the public and health professionals.

Page last updated: 07 November 2017

The overall incidence of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in Australia is low and has decreased since the introduction in 2003 of the meningococcal C (MenC) vaccine on the National Immunisation Program (NIP). The four most common serogroups of IMD in Australia are serogroup B, serogroup C, serogroup W, and serogroup Y.

Available on the private market are three vaccines registered in Australia that protect against serogroups A, C, W, and Y and one registered product that protects against serogroup B.

The number of cases of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) due to serogroup W (MenW) has been increasing across most jurisdictions in Australia since 2013. Due to this, the Commonwealth Department of Health, in collaboration with the states and territories, is closely monitoring the incidence of MenW in Australia in accordance with the Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease Incidents of National Significance (CDPlan).

The Chief Medical Officer of Australia has established a dedicated incident management team with a focus on examining the current epidemiology and co-ordinating responses to MenW at the national level.

Outbreak in the Northern Territory

There is currently an outbreak of MenW in the Northern Territory (NT) affecting young Aboriginal people in the Central Australia, Barkly and Katherine West regions. In response the NT Government has commenced a vaccination program for individuals in the affected communities. For further information on the outbreak and the current response please visit the Northern Territory Department of Health webpage.

Notifications and rates of IMD, Australia, 2002 to 2017 YTD*, by serogroup

Notifications and rates of IMD, Australia, 2002 to 2017 YTD*, by serogroup

#Data extracted from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System on 04 October 2017.
*Other includes where meningococcal isolates could not be identified (‘not groupable’), other isolates not grouped and where serogroup was not known.
ˠ The rate for 2017 YTD has been annualised

Five states have announced time limited state based meningococcal ACWY vaccination programs that will commence during 2017. This meningococcal vaccine will protect against meningococcal strains A, C, W and Y. These programs will target children between 15-19 years, with NSW targeting 17-18 year olds. Further details can be found under the relevant links below:

Meningococcal W Disease - Information

Invasive Meningococcal W Disease National Surveillance Reports

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

Useful links / Further information