WHO introduces "Defeating meningitis by 2030"
17 October 2018 - The “Defeating meningitis by 2030” was introduced in May 2018 at the World Health Assembly by Eastern Mediterranean and African Regions. Under the leadership of WHO, members of the Technical Task Force, a consortium of major technical partners historically invested in long-term meningitis control, met 18-19 July in Geneva. Experts reviewed an analysis of the baseline meningitis global situation, defined strategic objectives and the structure of the roadmap that will lead to a world free from meningitis and identified next steps for a global consultative process.
5 October 2018 - Despite a relatively calm meningitis epidemic season (January-June 2018), the risk of large-scale epidemics remains high. A convergence of factors is threatening the region with large outbreaks affecting millions since 2015.
Urgent action is needed to prepare for the worst and minimize the potentially devastating impact of outbreaks in the region.
Developing a new generation Rapid Diagnostic Tests for meningitis
Updated 10 October 2018 - A new scalable, rapid test for the diagnosis of meningitis is crucial and long overdue. Experts gathered in Geneva in March 2018 explored the scope, type, target user and timelines for making such product available. They identified key steps to make progress for three different types of diagnostic tests: 1) Rapid test in the African meningitis belt to identify the causative organism (meningococcal serogroup) at peripheral level, 2) rapid test in epidemic and endemic settings (global level) to identify bacterial infection for individual case management at peripheral level, 3) rapid test in epidemic and endemic settings (global level) to identify multiple meningitis pathogens for individual case management at hospital level.
The three different types of diagnostic tests are being described in the 2018 use cases document.
Serogroup distribution of invasive meningococcal disease, 2018
19 February 2018 - Neisseria meningitidis bacteria has the potential to cause large-scale epidemics. Twelve types of N. meningitidis, called serogroups, have been identified worldwide, six of which (A, B, C, W, X and Y) can cause devastating epidemics. The distribution and frequency of these serogroups varies from region to region. Take a look at the map to find out more about what types of N. meningitidis can be found where in the world.
Introductory-level online course on meningitis
This interactive online course on meningitis offers the most relevant scientific, technical and operational knowledge on managing infectious hazards through video lectures, presentations and self-tests. The module on meningitis focuses on the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis, as it can cause large-scale epidemics, and takes an hour to complete.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a variety of organisms that include bacteria, fungi or viruses. It is a serious condition that can be life threatening.
Meningococcal meningitis is an acute form of bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. Meningococcal meningitis is of particular importance as it has the potential to cause large epidemics.
Polysaccharide vaccines are used during a response to outbreaks, mainly in Africa:
• They are either bivalent (serogroups A and C), trivalent (A, C and W), or tetravalent (A, C, Y and W)
• They are not effective before 2 years of age
• They offer a 3 year protection but do not induce herd immunity.
Conjugate vaccines are used in prevention (into routine immunization schedules and preventive campaigns) and outbreak response:
• They confer longer-lasting immunity (5 years and more), prevent carriage and induce herd immunity.
• They can be used as soon as of one year of age
•Available vaccines include:
Tetravalent (serogroups A, C, Y, W)
Protein based vaccine, against N. meningitidis B. It has been introduced into the routine immunization schedule (one country as of 2017) and used in outbreak response.
- International Coordinating Group (ICG) on vaccine provision for meningitis
- The Meningitis Vaccine Project - frequently asked questions
- Prioritization tool for Meningitis A Conjugate Vaccine Introduction
Antibiotic prophylaxis for close contacts, when given promptly, decreases the risk of transmission.
• Outside the African meningitis belt, chemoprophylaxis is recommended for close contacts within the household.
• In the African meningitis belt, chemoprophylaxis for close contacts is recommended in non-epidemic situations.
Ciprofloxacin antibiotic is the antibiotic of choice, and ceftriaxone an alternative.
Epidemic meningitis control in countries of the African meningitis belt, 2017
Epidemic meningitis control in countries of the African meningitis belt, 2016
Meningitis control in countries of the African meningitis belt, 2015
Meningococcal disease control in countries of the African meningitis belt, 2014
- Archive of WER
Focus on the African meningitis belt
Investigation of a NmA case in the meningitis belt (English and French)
Meningococcal meningitis, countries or areas at high risk, 2017
Risk of Nm C epidemics in Africa
Geographical distribution and risk
Continuing risk of meningitis due to Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C in Africa: revised recommendations from a WHO expert consultation
Pneumococcal meningitis outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa
- Laboratory methods for the diagnosis of meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenzae
Managing meningitis epidemics in Africa