Original report posted on February 25, 2013.
Report revised in June 2013 to remove photo.
Just over two years ago, a child in the African nation of Burkina Faso became the first person to receive a revolutionary new vaccine against deadly meningitis A. Today, PATH and our partners are celebrating another remarkable milestone: more than 100 million people across ten African countries have received that same lifesaving protection.
The president of Benin hosted a celebration in November 2012 marking the 100 millionth person vaccinated with the MenAfriVac® vaccine, an event attended by delegates from many of Africa’s 26 “meningitis belt” countries. The achievement was further recognized in early December at the GAVI Alliance Partners’ Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Since December 2010, the MenAfriVac® vaccine has been introduced in countries across sub-Saharan Africa through mass vaccination campaigns aimed at eliminating epidemic meningitis as a public health problem.
The MenAfriVac® vaccine has significantly reduced the burden of meningitis in those countries. To date, not a single case of group A meningococcal meningitis has been reported in the 54 million people who received one dose of MenAfriVac® in 2010–2011.
MenAfriVac®, a registered trademark of Serum Institute of India Ltd., was developed by PATH and the World Health Organization, at the request of African countries and working with two dozen global collaborators.
Seasonal meningitis A epidemics threaten the lives of 450 million people living in the meningitis belt. The disease causes inflammation of the lining around the brain and the spine that can kill people within 24 to 48 hours. Those who survive often face severe learning difficulties and deafness. Children and young adults are at the highest risk.