Sahel meningitis outbreaks linked to wind and dust levels, claim scientists
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Scientists may soon be able to forecast disease outbreaks in sub-Saharan African’s “meningitis belt” using weather data. The forecasts could be used to plan early vaccination drives aimed at preventing or limiting casualties.
In the “meningitis belt” of sub-Saharan Africa, which stretches across theSahel from Senegal to Ethiopia, major epidemics of lethal meningitis are routine. A devastating 1996-97 outbreak killed about 25,000 people.
An effective new vaccine has driven a decrease in meningitis, but the standard procedure in the region has been to carry out vaccination drives and antibiotic treatment of the disease in districts already suffering outbreaks. In some cases, help arrives too late to make a significant impact, health officials say.
- Health Care