Neisseria meningitidis is a major cause of bacterial meningitis and septicaemia worldwide and is associated with high case fatality rates and serious life-long complications among survivors. Twelve serogroups are recognised, of which six (A, B, C, W, X and Y) are responsible for nearly all cases of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). The incidence of IMD and responsible serogroups vary widely both geographically and over time. For the first time, effective vaccines against all these serogroups are available or nearing licensure. Over the past two decades, IMD incidence has been declining across most parts of the world through a combination of successful meningococcal immunisation programmes and secular trends. The introduction of meningococcal C conjugate vaccines in the early 2000s was associated with rapid declines in meningococcal C disease, whilst implementation of a meningococcal A conjugate vaccine across the African meningitis belt led to near-elimination of meningococcal A disease. Consequently, other serogroups have become more important causes of IMD. In particular, the emergence of a hypervirulent meningococcal group W clone has led many countries to shift from monovalent meningococcal C to quadrivalent ACWY conjugate vaccines in their national immunisation programmes. Additionally, the recent licensure of two protein-based, broad-spectrum meningococcal B vaccines finally provides protection against the most common group responsible for childhood IMD across Europe and Australia. This review describes the global IMD epidemiology across each continent and trends over time, the serogroups responsible for IMD, impact of meningococcal immunisation programmes and future needs to eliminate this devastating disease.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.