Serogroup A Meningococcal Meningitis in Sub-Saharan Africa: Deadly, Expensive, Preventable
Serogroup A Meningococcal Meningitis threatens the lives of 450 million people across 26 countries in Africa’s meningitis belt, mostly children and young adults.
Historically, 8 in 10 cases of meningitis in this region were caused by serogroup A meningococcus.
Meningitis Belt: Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Cote d’ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of The Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania
Meningococcal meningitis kills within hours.
- Thousands die in years with large outbreaks.
- 1 in 10 people die within 2 days even when antibiotics are available.
- 1 in 5 survivors are left with permanent disabilities such as paralysis, blindness, hearing loss, seizures, and intellectual disability.
Meningococcal meningitis treatment is costly for both families and nations and contributes to the cycle of poverty.
- Each case of meningitis in a family results in a sudden cost of about $90 – about 3 or 4 months of the family’s income.
- The permanent disabilities caused by meningitis leave survivors less able to care for themselves and less likely to earn income.
The Meningococcal A conjugate vaccine (MenAfriVac™) protects against serogroup A meningococcal meningitis saving lives and money.
- The vaccine is estimated to have protected more than 400 million people at risk for meningococcal A meningitis and saved more than 150,000 lives through 2020.
- MenAfriVac® is the first vaccine made specifically for use in Africa. The vaccine can go up to 4 days without refrigeration or an ice pack, which allows for safe delivery to people in even the most remote areas.
- MenAfriVac™ costs only $0.40 per dose, far less than the $90 needed to treat just one person with the disease.
- Routine MenAfriVac™ immunization programs are estimated to save up to $32.3 million from 2015 to 2035 compared to vaccination campaigns held in response to an outbreak or epidemic.
Over 315 million people within 24 countries had received the vaccine by the end of 2020.
The introduction of this vaccine is a giant step toward achieving elimination of epidemic meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa.