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WHO Credits New Vaccine For Lowest Meningitis Case Numbers In 10 Years

“Case numbers in Africa’s meningitis season this year were the lowest in 10 years thanks to a cheap new vaccine designed to treat a type of the disease common in the so-called meningitis belt, the [WHO] said on Thursday,” Reuters reports. The vaccine, called MenAfriVac and developed with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), is designed to prevent meningitis A, which commonly causes outbreaks across “Africa’s ‘meningitis belt,’ a band of 26 countries stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia,” the news agency notes. “The introduction of this first meningococcal vaccine available for preventive purposes in Africa has enabled the immunization of over 100 million people from 10 countries in the meningitis belt in the past three years,” the WHO said, adding, “The reduced case load and epidemic activity observed this year adds to the evidence on the impact … of this vaccine,” according to Reuters (Kelland, 6/6).