First meningococcal a conjugate vaccine launched in burkina faso

First meningococcal a conjugate vaccine launched in burkina faso

A vaccine that is expected to eradicate the primary cause of meningitis epidemic in Africa is being used across Burkina Faso, starting today, December 6th 2010. If all goes well it will then be used across 25 African countries known as the "meningitis belt". Group A meningococcus, for which this new vaccine is designed, accounts for approximately 85% of meningitis cases in those countries.

The vaccine is currently priced at $0.50 per dose. According to WHO (World Health Organization), it costs less that 10% of the $500 million typically needed to get a new vaccine developed and onto the market.

A partnership between PATH, an international non-profit organization and WHO created the Meningitis Vaccine Project which developed the new vaccine. WHO informs that its researchers worked closely with health authorities of the meningitis belt countries, as well as centers of excellent around the world.

An Indian company, which had agreed from the outset to accept technology transfer from companies with vaccine conjugation expertise, manufactures and sells the vaccine to African countries at low prices.

This month will see the start of nationwide vaccination campaigns in Mali and Niger. If a $475 million funding gap is met, WHO expects all 25 meningitis belt countries to be using the vaccine by 2015.

Meningococcal meningitis

This is a bacterial form of meningitis. Meningococcal meningitis is an infection of the lining around the brain and spinal cord - it is a serious infection. It is fatal in 50% of untreated cases.

People infect other humans through droplets of water either breathed or coughed out. Sneezing on somebody, or kissing them is also a possible form of human-to-human transmission. Those living in close quarters with an infected individual, or sharing their eating and drinking utensils might also become infected.

The incubation period - the time from initial infection to the appearance of first symptoms - can be from two to ten days.

Signs and symptoms may include a high fever, light sensitivity, headaches, a stiff neck, confusion, and vomiting.

Even with prompt and proper treatment, between 5% to 10% of patients do not survive.

Some survivors may suffer brain damage, learning disability and/or hearing loss.

The meningitis belt

The following countries form part of what is known as the meningitis belt:
  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • the Central African Republic
  • Chad, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Djibouti
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • the Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Kenya, Liberia
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Togo
  • Uganda
Source: WHO

CDC Responds to Meningitis in Burkina Faso (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

Section Issues On Medicine: Other