Emergencies preparedness, response

Meningococcal disease in Burkina Faso - update

19 March 2007

From 1 January to 11 March 2007, the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso reported 7 333 suspected cases including 583 deaths (case-fatality rate, 8%). Twenty two districts are currently over the epidemic threshold including three districts in the capital, Ouagadougou. Cerebrospinal fluid specimens from all affected areas have tested positive for Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A by latex test and/or culture.

The first phase of a vaccination campaign targeting 1 million people has been completed in 6 districts and is on-going in a further 2 districts. The bivalent vaccine has been secured from The International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision for Epidemic Meningitis Control as well as from the security stockpiles held by the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso.

The ICG has now also approved the release of 3 350 000 additional doses of bivalent vaccine for use in further vaccination campaigns in thirteen epidemic districts, including the entire city of Ouagadougou. A first shipment of 1 165 000 doses of this vaccine is scheduled to arrive early this week.

Undertaking large scale vaccination campaigns places heavy financial and operational burdens on countries. WHO, Médecins sans Frontières, Plan Burkina, and UNICEF are providing technical and/or financial support to the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso in the coordination and implementation of the response to the outbreak.

Over US$ 1.2 million are still urgently needed to overcome the financial shortfall/gap that will allow all necessary vaccination campaigns in the country to be implemented in full.