749 Meningitis Deaths in West and Central Africa this Year

749 people have died from meningitis across West and Central Africa this year, according to a report released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) last week.

Burkina Faso and Chad were the most affected countries in West and Central Africa.

In Burkina Faso, 8 districts are in an epidemic situation and 11 other districts are on alert. 3,630 cases of meningitis have been recorded since the beginning of the year. This figure represents 40% of all cases reported in the region. Out of these 3,630 reported cases of meningitis, 400 people had died by April 1.

In Chad, 2,136 cases and 102 deaths had been registered by April 1.

OCHA said, “In the 11 West and Central African countries which have been affected, the meningitis season had killed a total of 749 people out of the 8,667 cases that had been reported by April 1.”

While Burkina Faso, Benin and Chad reported more cases in March, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and the Central African Republic saw the incidence decline, OCHA said.

Populations  in both  Burkina Faso and Chad have been recently vaccinated with MenAfriVac, a serogroup A meningitis vaccine. Although vaccination against serogroup A meningitis was widespread in Burkina Faso, this year’s outbreak of meningococcal disease has been attributed to the serogroup W135 bacteria. In Chad, MenAfriVac  immunisation is being rolled out in phases over several years. So far this year there have been few cases of meningitis reported in vaccinated regions.


Map of Africa highlighting Burkina Faso and Chad courtesy of Africa Map Generator


Map of Africa showing Burkina Faso and Chad