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J Immunol Sci. 2018 Jul 2;Suppl:41-45.

Elimination of Epidemic Meningitis in the African Region: Progress and Challenges: 2010-2016.

Author information

1
IST West Africa, WHO Regional Office for Africa, Ougadougou, Burkina Faso.
2
IVD/FRH, WHO Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.
3
IVR/IVB WHO HQ, Geneva, Switzerland.
4
World Health Organization. Department: Control of Epidemic Diseases. City: Geneva.
5
Polio Eradication Programme, WHO Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo.

Abstract

Background:

Epidemics of meningococcal disease constitute a major public health challenge in Africa, affecting mostly the 24 countries of the meningitis belt. These epidemics led to a call for a call for a safe, effective and affordable conjugate vaccine against the major serogroup responsible for recent epidemics by leaders of the region.

Objective:

This paper documents experiences with efforts at eliminating epidemic meningitis in the African Region.

Method:

The meningoccocal serogroup A conjugate vaccine was developed, licensed and offered to more than 235 million people through mass vaccination campaigns in 16 countries since 2010. Future plans include providing the vaccine to the remaining countries in the African Meningitis Belt and, to implement the vaccine into routine national infant immunization programme and to organise catch-up immunization campaigns every 5 years for unvaccinated <5 year-olds who had missed their routine vaccinations.

Results:

The success of the project is evidenced by the large declines in cases of group A meningococcal disease since 2010, with no cases reported in vaccinated persons across the 16 countries, reflecting the highly effective nature of the vaccine. The successful control of serogroup A meningococcal disease has highlighted the need to tackle other meningococcal serogroups through development of polyvalent conjugate vaccines with the aim of eliminating epidemics of meningococcal meningitis in the African region.

KEYWORDS:

African Region; Challenges; Elimination; Epidemic Meningitis; Progress

PMID:
30761390
PMCID:
PMC6370001

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