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Group-Y Meningococcal Disease: Twelve Cases at an Army Training Center

JERRY D. SMILACK, M.D.
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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Jerry D. Smilack, M.D., Infectious Disease Laboratory, The Methodist Hospital, 6516 Bertner Blvd., Houston, TX 77025.


Houston, Texas


Ann Intern Med. 1974;81(6):740-745. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-81-6-740
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Meningococcal infections have been a serious cause of morbidity and mortality in the military. Although the recent availability of an effective polysaccharide vaccine against group-C infection has resulted in a marked diminution of disease, group-Y meningococcal infections have continued, with an occasional isolated epidemic. Experience with 12 cases of group-Y disease at one U.S. Army training center is presented. Nearly half of the patients presented primarily with evidence of central nervous system involvement. In 4 of the 12 cases meningococcemia alone was the initial presentation; one additional patient with meningococcemia developed meningoencephalitis shortly after hospital admission. There were two cases of primary meningococcal pneumonia. Three of the patients with meningococcemia died; two had clinical or autopsy evidence of a syndrome of disseminated intravascular coagulation. Group-Y meningococcal disease appears to be a virulent infection with a significant mortality rate.

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