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Togo: Meningitis epidemic - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) n° MDRTG006

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Since December 2015, Ghana has been affected by new strain of meningitis outbreak - Pneumococcal Meningitis caused by streptococcus pneumoniae, which is both contagious and fatal. As of 10 February, there have been 85 fatalities reported and 465 people hospitalized in Ghana.The meningitis outbreak has since spread from Ghana to Togo, starting in the Kara region, in the district of Dankpen before moving on to the western border district of Bassar. As of 15 February, the district of Dankpen reported a total of 219 cases and 12 deaths (case fatality rate (CFR): 5.5%) and the district of Bassar reported a total 63 cases including nine deaths (CFR: 14.3%). Following investigations in the district of Dankpen, it was identified that the causal agent was Neisseria meningitides W135. This strain of meningitis is rare and has common signs and symptoms similar to that of Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis. It should be noted that that are concerns that the epidemic is expanding to other areas, not only in the districts of Kara region but also to neighbouring areas – since 5 February 2016, two cases have been reported in the Central region. There is also a cross border risk of spread of cases to other countries in West Africa, in Ghana, potentially Cote d’Ivoire and beyond.

The hot and humid climate of Togo is a key factor to the proliferation of disease vectors and partly responsible for the national epidemiological profile dominated by infectious and parasitic diseases. The months of March and April with their scorching heat mark the transition between the dry season and the rainy season. This period corresponds to the time when Togo can experience the onset of meningitis outbreaks (December to June) and also with lean periods where the malnutrition rate is very high.