Epidemic meningitis surveillance in the African meningitis belt


Since 2010, the Neisseria meningitidis (Nm) A conjugate vaccine is being introduced on a large scale in countries of the African meningitis belt. It is expected that this vaccination programme will eliminate large Nm A outbreaks in the African meningitis belt, while outbreaks of other meningitis serogroups will continue or emerge. These epidemiological changes will need to be monitored, and the effectiveness of the vaccine quantified. These new challenges create a need for surveillance systems to adapt in order to remain relevant, accurate and efficient. This document is intended to serve as a reference for national public health policy-makers. It outlines the scope of potential meningitis surveillance strategies that make it possible to obtain the data required for epidemic detection, monitoring of epidemiological and microbiological trends, evaluation of meningitis control strategies and assessment of the impact of Nm A conjugate vaccine. Ultimately, it provides information that can be used to decide on a surveillance strategy that is tailored to the needs and capacity of a country.