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Scientists at Oxford University have identified the key groups of bacteria responsible for the majority of meningococcal disease cases in England and Wales over the past 20 years.

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Genome analysis of 899 individual bacterial isolates revealed the presence of 20 families, or lineages, of the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis in England and Wales over the two-year period between 2010 and 2012. But only three of these lineages caused 59% of cases. Researchers were able to compare this with previous data to shed light on disease fluctuations over more than 20 years.

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