More than 450 million people are at risk of meningococcal A meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis, which can explode in large epidemics. The disease kills one in ten people who get sick, and leaves a quarter of survivors deaf or with other severe disabilities.
For the schoolchildren of Ouagadougou, where the first mass meningitis vaccination campaign began December 6, 2012, it was a big day for another reason. It was a morning off from school to witness history. This is the first vaccine ever developed to provide sustained protection against the specific strain that causes most outbreaks of bacterial meningitis in Africa’s meningitis belt. (Burkina Faso, 2010)