The ongoing measles outbreak in the Central African Republic (DRC) was declared in January 2020, and by the end of the year, 28,633 suspected cases with 137 associated deaths were reported. And the outbreak continued in 2021.
As of August 21, 2021, the DRC has reported about 2,049 measles cases.
Over the years, routine and supplemental measles immunization vaccination coverage has been suboptimal in the DRC.
Twenty-five percent of the measles cases confirmed in 2021 are unvaccinated. And the administrative vaccination coverage at the national level remains less than 70% as of June 2021.
As a result, a national vaccination campaign targeting children up to 10 years was conducted in two phases in 2020.
'The country (DRC) needs to continue with vaccine campaigns for vaccine-preventable diseases and reinforce the mechanisms for ensuring that these campaigns reach targeted populations to prevent further outbreaks of diseases such as measles,' says the WHO.
The U.S. CDC suggests infants traveling internationally should get one dose of a measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before departure to the DRC. This dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.
Separately, the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared a meningitis outbreak in the Tshopo Province on September 8, 2021. The CDC recommends that travelers two months or older traveling to the north-eastern DRC get vaccinated against meningitis.
Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but people who live or travel to some regions of the world are more likely to get it.
The "meningitis belt" of sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of meningococcal disease in the world. The disease is more common in this part of Africa during the dry season (December through June).
People with meningococcal disease spread the bacteria to others through close personal contact, such as living together or kissing. Bacteria that cause meningococcal disease can also infect the blood, causing septicemia.
Getting a meningococcal vaccine is the best way to protect against meningococcal disease. There are two types of meningococcal vaccines available in the USA: Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) vaccine; Serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine.