A Success Story, and a Warning

A mass immunization campaign against meningitis A in Africa has been hailed as a stunning success, credited for reducing cases from nearly 2,000 in 2009 to just 4 in 2013.

The campaign, featuring a vaccine designed specifically for Africa, launched in 2010, delivering the jab across sub-Saharan Africa from Gambia to Ethiopia.

However, projections published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases showed the disease could easily return without routine vaccinations for newborns. The WHO’s Marie-Pierre Preziosi warns, "There will be major epidemics in 10 to 15 years, so the call to countries now is, 'Do not stop your efforts—you need to introduce the vaccine into routine immunization programs.'"

Path’s Mark Alderson also warned that other types of meningitis—C, Y, W and X—still pose a threat; he says that a polyvalent vaccine should be introduced to truly eliminate the disease.


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