A study conducted in 2015/2016 shows the epidemic circulation of type w meningococcus associated with the hyper-invasive clonal complex Nm/cc11 in the Central African Republic.

Every year during the dry season, Sub-Saharan Africa is hit by epidemics of meningitis, an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called meningococcus, often fatal when the tratment is inadequate or given too late. The area of the continent concerned, called the meningitis belt, extends from Senegal to Ethiopia and includes the northern part of the Central African Republic.

Until 2010, the predominant meningococcus in the meningitis belt belonged to type A. After this date, which corresponds to the start of massive vaccination campaigns against meningococcus A organized by WHO, the bacterium almost disappeared. Unfortunately, the disease persists because other types of meningococcus, not managed by the vaccine used, have since emerged. Type C was reported in Niger and Nigeria in 2015 and a Central African study showed epidemic circulation of type W meningococcus in 2015 and 2016.

During these 2 years, the Central African meningitis surveillance system detected 276 cases, 25 of which were fatal. Of these patients, 80 were biologically sampled by lumbar puncture and sent to the Institut Pasteur de Bangui. The bacteriology laboratory identified 66 cases of meningococcal infections, all related to type W and associated with the hyper-invasive clonal complex Nm/cc11.

Meningococcus type W can be prevented by a suitable vaccine, which is still too expensive for inclusion in mass vaccination campaigns.

This article was published by the Institut Pasteur de Bangui and translated in English by Afriscitech.com.