1997 - Meningitis in Ghana
06 March 1997
Disease Outbreak Reported
From November 1997 to 22 February 1997, 1659 cases of cerebrospinal meningitis with 281 deaths (CFR 17%) were reported, most of which (70%) occurred in February 1997. The outbreak started in East Mamprusi district and Bawku East and then spread to four other districts in Upper West Region. The population at greatest risk is estimated at around 1,7 million but the entire population at risk in the Upper East and Northern Regions is close to 3 million. Reports indicate that the number of cases is increasing rapidly in other districts of the Upper East, Northern, Upper West and Brong Ahafo Regions. The total population exposed in these Regions is near 5.5 million. The Ministry of Health has mobilized funds to purchase at least 3,395,000 doses of vaccines with needles and syringes.
Outbreaks have also been reported in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Togo, continuing the epidemic cycle which started in West Africa in 1997. The presence of serogroup A Neisseria meningitidis has been confirmed.
The appeal launched by WHO, UNICEF, Médecins sans Frontières and the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on 7 February resulted in pledges exceeding US$ 3 million for the response to the threat of epidemic meningitis in Africa. The appeal is being relaunched on 7 March to reach the goal of US$ 6.3 million needed to secure the purchase and distribution of vaccine, drugs for treatment and injection material.