Reduction in Meningitis A Cases Reported in 2011
As the 2011 epidemic season draws to a close, leading meningitis experts are taking note of the recent low incidence of MenA cases in the African meningitis belt.
Surveillance data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that up to 29 May 2011 only 4 confirmed cases of MenA have been reported in Burkina Faso, another 4 in Niger, and none in Mali. In comparison, during the same period in 2010 WHO reported that 66 cases of MenA had been confirmed in Burkina Faso, 10 in Mali, and 231 in Niger.
The low incidence of group A meningococcal meningitis this year follows the introduction of MenAfriVac in Burkina Faso and in parts of Mali and Niger. However levels of disease were also lower in the parts of Mali and Niger that had not been vaccinated and in most other countries of the Meningitis Belt that have not yet received MenAfriVac. For example in Nigeria, only 4 cases of A were seen this year compared to 43 in 2010.
Longer term surveillance will be important to confirm these early encouraging signs of the vaccine’s impact. Studies like those of MenAfriCar will provide more understanding of the effect of the vaccine on throat carriage of the meningitis bacteria.
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