The Ministry of Health has declared an epidemic of meningococcal meningitis in five villages within the health district of Ouléssébougou, Koulikoro, in southern Mali. So far there have been eight confirmed cases and six deaths. This outbreak is suspected to be caused by Group A Meningitis bacteria.
The Government and WHO have deployed a rapid response medical team. A vaccination campaign has been launched in the affected villages since 2 March. However, there is concern about the potential risk arising from people who have left the affected villages and remain untraced.
The largest burden of meningococcal disease occurs during the dry season in an area of sub-Saharan Africa known as the "meningitis belt", which stretches from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east.