Impact of a mass vaccination campaign against a meningitis epidemic in a refugee camp

E Haelterman, M Boelaert, C Suetens, L Blok, M Henkens, MJ Toole

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    Serogroup A meningococcus epidemics occurred in refugee populations in Zaire in August 1994. The paper analyses the public health impact of a mass vaccination campaign implemented in a large refugee camp. We compared meningitis incidence rates from 2 similar camps. In Kibumba camp, vaccination was implemented early in the course of the epidemic whilst in the control camp (Katale), vaccination was delayed. At a threshold of 15 cases per 100 000 population per week an immunization campaign was implemented. Attack rates were 94 and 134 per 100,000 in Kibumba and Katale respectively over 2 months. In Kibumba, one week after crossing the threshold, 121,588 doses of vaccine were administered covering 76% of all refugees. Vaccination may have prevented 68 cases (30% of the expected cases). Despite its rapid institution and the high coverage achieved, the vaccination campaign had a limited impact on morbidity due to meningitis. In the early phase in refugee camps, the relative priorities of meningitis vaccination and case management need to be better defined
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
    Pages (from-to)385-392
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Bacterial diseases
    • Meningitis
    • Epidemiology
    • Outbreak
    • Vaccination
    • Refugees
    • Rwanda
    • Congo-Kinshasa
    • Goma
    • Africa-Central


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