Guidance to travellers to sub-Saharan meningitis belt

Travellers to the sub-Saharan meningitis belt may be exposed to outbreaks, most commonly of serogroup A and serogroup W135 disease, with comparatively very high incidence rates during the dry season (December to June). Long-term travellers living in close contact with the indigenous population may be at greater risk of infection.

The World Health Organization compiles information on meningitis incidence in the meningitis belt routinely. 

Quadrivalent ACW135Y vaccines are indicated for immunisation of individuals travelling to high risk areas where epidemics or hyperendemic disease with serogroup A, C or W135 infection occur, particularly those visitors who live or travel rough such as hitchhikers or trekkers.

If you are travelling to a country in the meningitis belt region you are advised to speak with your doctor or travel health clinic and obtain specific advice on how you can protect yourself.

Futher information on meningococcal disease is available on the HPSC website.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee in the Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland, 2013 provides recommendations on vaccination for individuals travelling to areas where outbreaks are occurring.

Created: 16 March 2012

Last updated: 9 September 2015