Meningitis in DRC

23 November 2021

Article: 55/4702

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reports a continuing outbreak of bacterial meningitis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As of 23 October 2021, there has been 2,395 meningitis cases, including 200 deaths, in Banalia District, Tshopo Province, in the north of the country.

Meningococcal meningitis is an acute disease, caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitides that can cause serious systemic infection and is spread through sneezing, coughing or direct contact with respiratory secretions.

Advice to travellers

Risk of infection for most travellers is very low, particularly for package tourists. Risk is increased for those travelling to a region with an ongoing epidemic: 

  • who anticipate close, prolonged contact with the local population 
  • who plan to visit overcrowded areas, such as busy market places, or use public transport 
  • to attend a mass gathering event 
  • if they have immunodeficiency including asplenia

All travellers should be aware of the risk of meningococcal disease, its transmission routes and symptoms, and are advised to avoid overcrowded areas and pay strict attention to respiratory hygiene and hand hygiene measures.

Further information on meningitis can be found on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.

Source: TRAVAX, 12 November 2021