Meningococcal disease cases in Scotland and Sweden, following attendance at the World Scout Jamboree, Yamaguchi, Japan, July 28-August 8, 2015

(As of 2015/8/25)

Between August 8 to 19, 2015, four meningococcal cases were confirmed by Health Protection Scotland (HPS).  Three of the case were teenagers who attended the World Scout Jamboree (WSJ) held in Japan between July 28 to August 8, 2015 and the remaining was a parent of a WSJ participant.  Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W was isolated from blood samples of two of the cases.  

Scottish scouts spent two weeks touring in Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Hiroshima prefectures prior to WSJ.  According to HPS, active investigation has been conducted and chemoprophylaxis and vaccination were provided as appropriate.  In addition, HPS sent a letter to all scouts in the UK who attended WSJ to raise awareness regarding the signs and symptoms of meningitis. 

On August 18, one confirmed and three suspected cases of meningococcal disease were reported from Sweden, all participants of WSJ.  According to Swedish authorities, no information regarding serogroup type or contact history with the Scottish scouts has been confirmed as of August 19.  Sweden has recommended all 1,900 participants to seek health care in order to receive chemoprophylaxis.

WSJ is an official event of the World Organization of the Scout Movement which is designed for young scouts aged 14 to 17 years.  This year, it was held in Yamaguchi Prefecture in Japan with more than 33,000 participants from 162 countries attending. Scotland and Sweden sent the largest number of participants to Japan.

In Japan, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) requested the Scout Association of Japan on August 14 to alert the WSJ participants to visit a hospital as soon as possible if they develop any signs or symptoms of meningococcal disease.  Following the report from Sweden, a similar request was sent to all local authorities on August 19.  MHLW is verifying the current situation in Scotland and Sweden through their respective public health authorities and the Scout Association of Japan. 

In Japan, invasive meningococcal disease is a notifiable disease.  At this moment, no cases linked with WSJ have been reported.  There were three cases reported in the current month of August, but all the cases have no epidemiologic link to WSJ and one of the cases was serogroup B (other remains under investigation). 

In 2015, 21 meningococcal disease cases have been reported to the National Epidemiological Surveillance of Infectious Diseases (NESID) system as of August 24. Fourteen cases have been tested for serogroup typing, and the majority were serogroup Y (nine cases), followed by two cases of serogroup W, one case each of serogroup B and C, and one non typable case (Please refer to for results prior to 2015).  In recent year, 7-21 cases of meningococcal disease have been reported annually to NESID.  While not included as a routine vaccination, Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV4) was approved for licensure in July 2014 in Japan. 

  1. Outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease in the EU associated with a mass gathering event, the 23rd World Scout Jamboree, in Japan 21 August 2015 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Rapid Risk Assessment
  2. Meningococcal disease in Scouts returning from international Jamboree.
    HPS Weekly Report, 18 August 2015 Volume 49 No 2015/33
  3. Meningococcal infection, 2005-October 2013, Japan
Reported by:
Mizue Kanai, Yushi Hachisu, Munehisa Fukusumi (Field Epidemiology Training Program Japan)
Hajime Kamiya, Tomimasa Sunagawa, Tamano Matsui, Kazunori Oishi (Infectious Disease Surveillance Center, National Institute of Infectious Diseases)
Hideyuki Takahashi, Makoto Ohnishi (Department of Bacteriology I, National Institute of Infectious Diseases)


Copyright 1998 National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan