Global Alert and Response (GAR)

2002 - Meningococcal disease in the Great Lakes area (Burundi, United Republic of Tanzania) - Update 3

02 October 2002

Disease Outbreak Reported

Burundi: As of 22 September the Ministry of Health has reported a total of 934 cases and 68 deaths. The number of cases is decreasing in the two most affected provinces, Muyinga and Ruyigi. However, two new provinces, Gitega and Karuzi, have been affected and report an increasing number of cases.

Between 23-27 September,  two cases were laboratory confirmed for Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W135  in Cankuzo province, in a commune bordering Tanzania.  To date, only serogroup A had been identified in 53 samples from all affected provinces. Systematic sampling of suspected cases is ongoing  in order to detect whether there has been a shift  in the dominant serogroup from A to W135. In the meantime, the vaccination campaign with the current polysaccharide bivalent vaccine ( for serogroups A and C) will continue in the affected provinces.

A meeting between the Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF, nongovernmental organizations, and other partners was held on  23 September to analyse the epidemiological situation and to prepare a new appeal for vaccines.

United Republic of Tanzania: The overall number of cases is decreasing in the camps to an average of twenty per week. The vaccination campaign for  refugees in the camps and for the local population in Kibondo district, Kibondo province  was completed on 23 September. Vaccination of registered refugees from the northern provinces in Ngara and Kasulu is scheduled to begin this week.

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