News of the WeekVaccine Introduction

The Beginning of the End for Africa's Devastating Meningitis Outbreaks?

Science  10 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6010, pp. 1466-1467
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6010.1466

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Summary

Nine years ago, a small group of infectious-disease experts gambled on an unorthodox strategy to make a much-needed—and affordable—vaccine for Africa. Last Monday in Burkina Faso, it paid off in spades with the kickoff of a massive campaign to immunize 20 million people in three African countries against deadly meningococcal meningitis by the end of December. The eventual goal, if the money comes through, is to immunize some 250 million people in 25 countries over the next several years, putting an end to the ferocious epidemics that regularly sweep across Africa's so-called meningitis belt.