Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Africa records lowest meningitis cases

07 June 2013, 10:33

London - Case numbers in Africa's meningitis season this year were the lowest in 10 years thanks to a cheap new vaccine designed to treat a type of the disease common in the so-called meningitis belt, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday.

The vaccine, called MenAfriVac, was developed with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation specifically for use against meningitis A, a type which causes regular epidemics in Africa.

Detailing data for January 1 to May 12, the United Nations health agency said that just under 9 250 meningitis cases, including 857 deaths, were reported in 18 of the 19 African countries under enhanced surveillance for meningitis.

Epidemics of meningitis A occur regularly in Africa's "meningitis belt", a band of 26 countries stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia, and are particularly devastating to children and young adults.

Bacterial meningitis, known as meningococcal meningitis, is a serious infection of the thin lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It can cause severe brain damage and is fatal in 50% of cases if untreated.

According to the non-profit Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), which helped develop the MenAfriVac vaccine, the seasonal outbreak of meningitis across sub-Saharan Africa in 2009 infected at least 88 000 people and killed more than 5 000.

The WHO said the falling numbers this year were due to the introduction of the newly developed vaccine. MenAfriVac costs just 50c a dose and has been progressively introduced in Africa since 2010, starting in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

"The introduction of this first meningococcal vaccine available for preventive purposes in Africa has enabled the immunisation of over 100 million people from 10 countries in the meningitis belt in the past three years," the WHO said.

"The reduced case load and epidemic activity observed this year adds to the evidence on the impact...of this vaccine."

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
4 ways to handle your cheating ma...

He is cheating. How do you handle him?

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Why do men choose second wives?

Why do men choose to have second wives?

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Wizkid set for twin Kenyan shows

Wizkid is back in Kenya. For two shows.

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Udada women's festival begins in ...

The Udada women's festival has arrived in Nairobi.

Submitted by
Uhuru pardons 2747 death row conv...

President Uhuru Kenyatta has pardoned a number of death row convicts, sending them to life sentences instead. Read more...

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?