In order to assess the direct effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing disease, we conducted a case-control study during the first year after vaccination. Using a hospital-based census, we selected all children hospitalized with meningococcal disease and sampled the control group among children hospitalized with other types of meningitis. Vaccine effectiveness was estimated from the relationship, 1-OR, where OR (odds ratio) was the exponential of the logistic regression coefficient for the association between meningococcal disease and previous vaccination.
Meningococcal disease is still a serious public health problem in many countries. A vaccine produced by Cuba was the first product against B meningococcus available on a large scale. In an attempt to control the increasing incidence of this serogroup in greater Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the vaccine was used in 1990 in children aged 6 months-9 years. About 1.6 million children were vaccinated.
A total of 275 cases and 279 controls were selected between September 1990 and October 1991. The summary adjusted measure of protection against serogroup B was 54% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 20-74%). Estimated protection varied among different age strata and place of residence, being high among children aged > or = 4 years, 71% (95% CI: 34-87%), and among those who lived in the City of Rio de Janeiro, 74% (95% CI: 42-89%).
The results suggest that the vaccine produced by Cuba may offer protection against serogroup B meningococcal disease, but its effects may not be homogeneous.