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Understanding the spatio-temporal dynamics of meningitis epidemics outside the belt: the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Abstract : Background: Bacterial meningitis remains a major threat for the population of the meningitis belt. Between 2004 and 2009, in the countries of this belt, more than 200,000 people were infected with a 10% mortality rate. However, for almost 20 years, important meningitis epidemics are also reported outside this belt. Research is still very poorly developed in this part of the word like in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which experiences recurrent epidemics. This article describes for the first time the spatio-temporal patterns of meningitis cases and epidemics in DRC, in order to provide new insights for surveillance and control measures. Methods: Based on weekly suspected cases of meningitis (2000-2012), we used time-series analyses to explore the spatio-temporal dynamics of the disease. We also used both geographic information systems and geostatistics to identify spatial clusters of cases. Both using conventional statistics and the Cleveland's algorithm for decomposition into general trend, seasonal and residuals, we searched for the existence of seasonality. Results: We observed a low rate of biological confirmation of cases (11%) using soluble antigens search, culture and PCR. The main strains found are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Neisseria meningitidis (A and C) serogroups. We identified 8 distinct spatial clusters, located in the northeastern and southeastern part of DRC, and in the capital city province, Kinshasa. A low seasonal trend was observed with higher incidence and attack rate of meningitis during the dry season, with a high heterogeneity in seasonal patterns occurring across the different districts and regions of DRC.
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Submitted on : Monday, May 25, 2020 - 3:15:42 PM
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Serge Mazamay, Didier Bompangue, Jean-François Guégan, Jean-Jacques Muyembe, Francis Raoul, et al.. Understanding the spatio-temporal dynamics of meningitis epidemics outside the belt: the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). BMC Infectious Diseases, BioMed Central, 2020, 20 (1), ⟨10.1186/s12879-020-04996-7⟩. ⟨hal-02618681⟩

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