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Published On: Thu, Jun 6th, 2013

Africa: 9,200 meningitis cases reported in ‘meningitis belt’ during first five months, lowest number reported in past decade

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) Global Alert and Response today, for the first five months of 2013, 9,249 suspected cases of meningitis, including 857 deaths, have been reported from 18 of the 19 African countries under enhanced surveillance for meningitis (see countries below).

The African Meningitis Belt is seen here in red. Photo/Leevanjackson visa Wikimedia Commons

The African Meningitis Belt is seen here in red. Photo/Leevanjackson visa Wikimedia Commons

Global health officials say this is the lowest number of cases recorded during the epidemic season in the last ten years.

Outbreaks of meningococcal meningitis have been reported Guinea (Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W135), South Sudan (Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A), Benin, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

The WHO suggests the decrease in the number of cases of meningitis reported during the period under review is thought to be due to the progressive introduction of the newly developed Meningococcal A conjugate vaccine in countries of the African Meningitis Belt since 2010.

The introduction of this first meningococcal vaccine available for preventive purposes in Africa has enabled the immunization of over 100 million people from 10 countries in the Meningitis Belt in the past three years (2010-2012).

The reduced case load and epidemic activity observed this year, adds to the evidence on the impact of the introduction of this vaccine, which is expected to eliminate epidemics of Nm A, which is the predominant cause of the disease in Africa.

The countries with enhanced surveillance for meningococcal disease include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan and Togo.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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