Risk Factors Nearly Quadruple:
When the adolescent behavior of deep, intimate kissing is shared with multiple partners, the risk for meningitis is almost quadrupled. This is what a matched cohort study to be published in the British Medical Journal found in time for Valentines Day 2006.
Meningitis is an infectious disease that affects young children and teenagers, especially. In the 1990s, England and the U.S. had elevated numbers of meningitis cases, as well as accompanying fatalities. The study was done in England on 15-19 year olds. One hundred fourty-four meningitis cases were studied.
Teen Behaviors and Risk Factors :
Because teenagers tend to try out risky behaviors, researchers measured the effects of intimate kissing on the potential for meningitis. Conversely, they also measured the role of participation in religious activites on the risk of the infection. They found a higher potential (almost 4 times as much) for teens who engaged in deep kissing with multiple partners. They also found a decrease in risk for teens who attended a religious event.
Other Risk Factors:
The researchers also found that student status, the previous existance or history of an illness and preterm birth were associated with higer risk for infection. These risk factors were found to be independent of one another.
Factors for Lower Risk:
Along with attendance at religious events, vaccination against serogroup G meningococci lowered the risk of infection.
More About Intimate Sharing:
Beyond deep kissing, the sharing of a bed, or having a partner did not increase incidence of meningitis. This suggests that transmission occurs in the mouth and throat area, and is not correlated with proximity.
1 Tully, Viner, Coen, Stuart, Zambou, Peckham, Booth, Klein, Kaczmarski, Booy. Risk and protective factors for meningococcal disease in adolescents: matched cohort study. Online First bmj.com February 2006. Retrieved from: Online First bmj.com February 10, 2006.
2 Press Release. Intimate Kissing Quadruples Risk of Meningitis in Teenagers. Newswise. February 2006. Retrieved from: http://www.newswise.com/p/articles/view/517916/ February 10, 2006