New meningococcal A vaccine is being introduced into Africa

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 24 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6736
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

A new conjugate vaccine against meningococcal A costing only $0.5 (£0.3; €0.4) a dose that has been developed for use in Africa is about to be introduced for the first time in a national vaccination programme in Burkina Faso, researchers announced.

The campaign to vaccinate all children and young adults from the ages of 1 to 29 years with the vaccine, MenAfriVac, will begin in Burkina Faso on 6 December. Niger and Mali will follow with similar vaccination campaigns.

Countries in the so called meningitis belt in sub-Saharan Africa—from Senegal in the west to Somalia in the east—have had regular epidemics of meningococcal meningitis for the past century. Almost all of the major outbreaks are caused by group A Neisseria menigitidis.

Until now, the only measure to reduce the impact has been reactive vaccination programmes with polysaccharide vaccines, but these provide protection for only about one year and not the …

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