The increasing number of cases of Group W Meningococcal disease (MenW) has prompted ESR to increase its reporting on the
disease to the Ministry of Health.
ESR, which conducts surveillance of notifiable diseases on behalf of the Ministry, has upped its reporting to weekly.
A public health physician at ESR, Jill Sherwood, says the number of cases of MenW has risen over the past three years
from five in 2016, 12 for last year, and to 24 so far this year.
“When we started to notice the numbers rising, we began increasing our reporting. For the past 12 months we’ve been
reporting to the Ministry bi-weekly, but in light of the most recent numbers, we’ve moved that to reporting on a weekly
She says the increase in the number of MenW cases notified in the past two years has been significantly higher than
average annual notifications for 2012-2015 (2.5 cases).
Cases more commonly appear in the months of August to November.
While Meningococcal B remains the dominant strain in New Zealand, Dr Sherwood says the country may be following the
trends in other countries, such as Australia, where MenW became the dominant strain in 2016.
“Although the number of MenW cases in New Zealand is still relatively low, there is an increasing trend in notifications
and a recent change in the sequence type similar to the UK, Australia and Canada,” Dr Sherwood says