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OCHA Mali – Flash Update 1: Resurgence of malaria and notification of meningitis cases, 6 October 2015

Resurgence of malaria

Humanitarian partners on the ground report a sharp increase in malaria cases in the northern regions of Mali and other parts of the country in recent weeks. In support to the Ministry of Health, WHO and its health partners continue to provide care to the cases registered, and their interventions are reinforced by mobile clinics in the regions of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal.

In addition, investigations are ongoing to determine whether the epidemic threshold has been reached. This resurgence of malaria would have triggered allegations that an “unknown fever” is currently affecting northern Mali.

Medications are being conveyed to support the response against malaria in affected areas; in order to strengthen the capacity for treating and preventing the disease.

Each year, a resurgence of malaria is observed during the rainy season. The high rainfall recorded this year has left stagnant water in several places and fostered the proliferation of malaria vectors, and malaria transmission.

Meningitis cases recorded in the region of Timbuktu

A total of eight (08) cases of meningitis, including two (02) deaths, were recorded in the health district of Goundam (Region of Timbuktu) since August 2015. This number of registered cases is below the alert and epidemic thresholds set at the global level by the WHO.

Nevertheless, as a response, health actors have strengthened the epidemiological surveillance throughout the health district. Furthermore, health partners are preparing to implement a mass vaccination campaign against meningitis, in case it would be necessary. The medical laboratory of the reference health center (CSREF) in the Goundam district has rapid-test equipment for meningitis which allows for a quick diagnosis of suspected cases. Health partners are also providing logistical support to transfer patients from their villages to the CSREF and to convey laboratory samples to the Regional Directorate of Health in Timbuktu.

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