woman holding meningitis vaccine Albert González Farran/ UNAMID via Flikr

Jak porazit meningitidu v Africe

SEATTLE – Pokrok Afriky v boji proti meningitidě typu A patří k nejméně medializovaným úspěchům globálního zdravotnictví. Díky vývoji a rozšíření levné vakcíny se podařilo zachránit životy statisíců dětí a zajistit prosperitu komunit, které by tato nemoc jinak ničila.

Meningokoková meningitida typu A je bakteriální zánět blan obklopujících mozek a míchu, který může být smrtelný. Její epidemie více než sto let zuřily ve 26 zemích subsaharské Afriky, kde každoročně zabíjely či ochromovaly desetitisíce převážně mladých lidí. Na africkém kontinentu mají z této nemoci velký strach; své oběti totiž dokáže během několika hodin zabít nebo jim těžce poškodit mozek.

Nemoc se obvykle šíří na začátku kalendářního roku, kdy suchý vítr ze Saharské pouště začíná vanout jižním směrem. Epidemie z let 1996-1997 měla v subsaharské Africe za následek více než 250 000 případů a 25 000 úmrtí, z nichž velkou část tvořily děti. Z těch, kteří přežili, zůstal každý čtvrtý člověk trvale postižený paralýzou, slepotou, hluchotou, záchvaty či poškozením mozku.

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