The increase in the number of cases of meningococcal disease reported to the Ministry of Health in Athens since 1989 prompted the present study to determine if isolates from patients or carriers expressed the same phenotypic characters as those in other parts of Europe. None of the isolates from patients (31) or carriers (547) expressed the antigenic combinations associated with outbreaks in northern Europe, i.e., B:15:P1.16 or B:4:P1.15. The majority of the Greek isolates did not react with any of the six monoclonal serotype reagents tested; however, most reacted with one or more of the 11 monoclonal subtype antibodies. The results suggest that additional serotype reagents are needed for epidemiological studies in southeastern Europe and that vaccines based on serotype antigens developed against outbreak strains in northern Europe would not be effective in Greece.


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