Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Other infections

Environmental survival of Neisseria meningitidis

Y.-L. TZENGa1, L. E. MARTINa1 and D. S. STEPHENSa1a2 c1

a1 Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

a2 Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Atlanta), Decatur, GA, USA


Neisseria meningitidis is transmitted through the inhalation of large human respiratory droplets, but the risk from contaminated environmental surfaces is controversial. Compared to Streptococcus pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumanni, meningococcal viability after desiccation on plastic, glass or metal surfaces decreased rapidly, but viable meningococci were present for up to 72 h. Encapsulation did not provide an advantage for meningococcal environmental survival on environmental surfaces.

(Received January 09 2013)

(Revised February 19 2013)

(Accepted March 13 2013)

(Online publication April 10 2013)

Key words

  • Environmental management;
  • infectious disease control;
  • Neisseria meningitidis


c1 Author for correspondence: D. S. Stephens, M.D., Emory University School of Medicine, 1440 Clifton Road, NE, Suite 420, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. (Email: dstep01@emory.edu)