Meningitis outbreak in Uganda continues

The Uganda Ministry of Health recently reported that it is responding to a meningococcal meningitis outbreak in the West Nile Sub-region of Uganda that has affected 121 persons since January 31, 2014.

The outbreak affected the Adjumani and Arua districts most severely. Both the Dzaipi and Adropi sub-counties of Adjumani have refugee camps for South Sudanese refugees that fled the country to escape conflict, and 26 of the reported cases of infection occurred among the refugee population.

Among the total number of reported cases, five resulted in death. The weekly number of new cases of infection averaged between 14 and 19 cases most weeks, except during week 9, when cases of infection increased to 29. The population most affected in the Adjumani and Arua districts is children under the age of 15 years old.

Eighty-four samples were tested for Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W135 and 32 were found to be positive. With the help of international partners, the International Coordinating Group on vaccine provision approved a request for 66,830 doses of trivalent ACW135 meningococcal meningitis vaccines to control the outbreak.

The World Health Organization is supporting the Ministry in its campaign to vaccinate the sub-countries above the epidemic threshold. Other efforts to keep the disease under control are ongoing

The WHO does not recommend any trade or travel restrictions to Uganda at this time.