woman holding meningitis vaccine Albert González Farran/ UNAMID via Flikr

击败非洲的脑膜炎

西雅图——非洲在与甲型脑膜炎斗争过程中所取得的进步是全球卫生领域保守最好的秘密之一。低成本疫苗的研发和部署挽救了数十万孩子的生命,如果没有疫苗可能已被疾病摧毁的社区现在正在实现繁荣。

流行性甲型脑膜炎是一种致命疾病,具体来讲就是细菌感染了大脑和脊髓周边薄膜组织。一个多世纪以来,上述传染病席卷了撒哈拉以南非洲26个国家,每年造成以年轻人为主的数以万计的民众致死和致残。非洲大陆的民众非常恐惧这种疾病;它能在短短数小时内致人于死命,或者造成受害者严重脑损伤。

疫情往往伴随着撒哈拉沙漠干燥的劲风南吹在每年的年初爆发。1996到1997年的脑膜炎流行在撒哈拉以南非洲地区造成超过25万人感染,已经造成25万人死亡,其中很多都是儿童。在那些侥幸存活的人当中,高达四分之一留下了终身残疾,包括瘫痪、失明、听力丧失、癫痫和脑损伤。

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