HC Deb 20 December 1995 vol 268 c1210W
Mr. Spearing

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out information held by his Department or on his behalf concerning the causes, frequency and locations of outbreaks of meningitis. [7370]

Mr. Horam

Outbreaks of meningitis are usually due to meningococcal infection. Two thirds of cases in the United Kingdom are from the group B meningococcal strain, one third from the group C strain. Outbreaks of the latter tend to occur more in closed or semi-closed communities, such as schools and military establishments. There are no known causes for outbreaks. They occur throughout the year, but the frequency increases over the winter months. There are approximately 2,000 notified cases of meningococcal infection—meningitis and septicaemia—each year. Some of the cases are sporadic; when more than one case occurs and there appears to be an epidemiolocical association between cases, there may be considered to be an outbreak. Information on the particular localities and number of notified cases of meningococcal infection is held by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys and is published in the OPCS Monitor MB2 series, copies of which are available in the Library.