Laboratory tests confirmed an outbreak of meningitis in Tshopo province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The outbreak was officially declared on 7 September 2021 and 233 suspected cases and 126 deaths have been reported so far.
The affected health zone of Banalia is very remote thus access is particularly difficult due to poor road conditions and a hard-to-reach terrain. Among the public health actions being organised are mobile clinics and activities along the Aruwimi River including epidemiological analysis, active case finding, treatment and diagnosis. Infection prevention and control interventions are also ongoing and a comprehensive response plan is being drafted.
Tshopo province last experienced a meningitis epidemic in 2009. Since then, passive surveillance has been implemented in the province as part of an integrated disease surveillance. Almost 1.7 million people were vaccinated against meningitis in the province in 2016.
The DRC is prone to epidemics and is currently dealing with outbreaks of measles, yellow fever, cholera, monkey pox, typhoid fever, pneumonic plague as well as COVID-19.