1999 - Meningococcal meningitis in Sudan
12 January 1999
Disease Outbreak Reported
An outbreak of meningococcal meningitis has been reported in the Northern Darfur region. The first cases were reported on 12 December 1998, and the total of 126 for December 1998 is 5 times higher than the number reported for the same month in 1997. Cases have continued to be reported at an increasing rate, reaching a total of 169 by 6 January. Over 20 deaths have been reported.
The organism has been identified as Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A, and tests indicate that it is sensitive to first-line antibiotics. Sudan lies in the so-called meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa. A large epidemic last occurred in 1988-1989, with over 40 000 cases and 7 500 deaths.
WHO is sending a team to assist with the assessment of the epidemiological situation and needs. Other international partners, such as UNICEF, Médecins sans frontières and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, are also making plans to support control of the outbreak.