18 November 2015
The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations is delighted by the news from the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP) that Meningitis A may soon be a thing of the past in Africa, thanks to the hugely successful MenAfriVac vaccine.
According to the MVP, Meningitis A was responsible for a quarter of a million cases of the disease in the so-called ‘meningitis belt’ of Africa, and more than 25,000 deaths between 1996 - 1997. In 2010, MVP partnered with the Serum Institute of India, Limited (SIIL) and health officials across Africa, to produce a meningococcal A conjugate vaccine, in response to a request for help from African leaders who had witnessed the devastating effects of the disease.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) have reported that in 2013 only 4 cases were confirmed by the 26 countries in the meningitis belt, a staggering improvement.
CoMO member, the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF), funded the research that has provided evidence of this success. Last week their research was published in the Oxford Journal ‘Clinical Infectious Diseases’: http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/61/suppl_5.toc.
The WHO have warned that although this is a fantastic success story, we must not become complacent. In order for continued success there must be immunisation schedules in place to ensure the continued administration of the vaccine to prevent future outbreaks. They stated that a modelling study has shown that without a continued immunisation programme in place there could be ‘catastrophic resurgences’ in the disease after around 15 years.