Vaccination

Meningitis vaccine tackles epidemic which plagued Africa for a century

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 03:30 GMT Jump to Comments

The vaccine, called MenAfriVac, is able to protect Africa’s 21-country ‘meningitis belt’ from epidemic A meningococcal disease.

The new study, undertaken by the African Meningococcal Carriage Consortium and published in The Lancet, measured the effect of MenAfriVac on the spread of meningitis when compared to unvaccinated regions during an epidemic.

The researchers discovered that, by giving all 1-29 year olds in three regions of Chad a shot of the vaccine, it significantly reduced incidence of all cases of meningitis by 94 per cent, and carriage prevalence of the epidemic strain dwindled by 98 per cent.

In unvaccinated parts of Chad, however, the epidemic persisted.

Lead author Professor Brian Greenwood from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine explained the importance of the study; “Before this study, mass vaccination campaigns in countries such as Burkina Faso had shown MenAfriVac to be safe and highly effective, resulting in the lowest number of confirmed meningitis A cases in over a decade”, he said.

“But in Burkina Faso the vaccine was introduced at a time of falling incidence rates and decreasing transmission, potentially enhancing its true effect and making it difficult to study the vaccine’s impact.”

Deadly epidemics of meningitis A are frequent in Africa’s so-called ‘meningitis belt’, a band of 21 sub-Saharan countries which extends from Senegal to Ethiopia. It is estimated that around 450 million people are at risk.

Greenwood added, “While our findings support the continuing roll-out of this vaccine across the African meningitis belt, continuing surveillance and further carriage studies in countries of the African meningitis belt will be needed to confirm the duration of protection provided by this vaccine.”

Comments

Latest

RealityBites - The National Healthcare Conversation moves to Tuesdays and takes on the future of general practice.…

Britain has a habit of funding new museums and attractions, when it would often do better to support and renovate…

The best way to track developments in UK’s local authorities is through the work of local journalists. A…

It makes sense for CCGs to have a bigger role in commissioning but they will need the oversight of NHS England…

The quarterly Enterprise Tracker report produced by RBS in association with UnLtd shows that UK social entrepreneurs,…

There needs to be a grown-up consultation with the public about how patient data is handled, says Tony Davis,…

As a clinical consultant representing a proprietary software supplier in healthcare, you may be surprised to hear…

The way the NHS pays rent to GPs must be made the top priority for the new co-commissioning agenda or the shortage…

Do you do digital? Take the test

The Information Daily is collaborating with Socitm to research organisations' commitment to and capability for a digital future.

Take the test

View Results

If you have already taken the test, you may view the latest detailed results by entering your email address below


Headline results so far: Results from 108 users

Corporate commitment: 46%
0%
100%
50%
Digital capability: 53%
0%
100%
50%

Raytheon will receive nearly half a billion pounds for its work on the cancelled eBorders project, but it was…

In 1948, responsibility for social care was handed to local councils and the medical stuff to the NHS. Now the…

Emer Coleman, open data expert and former deputy director of the Government Digital Service, outlines some of…

Local authorities acknowledge the social, economic and democratic value of opening up their data vaults.