Mobile laboratory to improve response to meningitis epidemics, Burkina Faso epidemic season 2004
26 Nov 2008
1Laboratoire de l'Hôpital Pédiatrique Charles de Gaulle, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
2Agence de Médecine Préventive, Paris, France
3Université de Ouagadougou, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
4Direction de la Lutte contre la Maladie, Ministère de la Santé, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
5Westfäliche Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany
Abstract. A Mobile Laboratory was developed for use primarily during the epidemic meningitis season in Burkina Faso. This report describes the Mobile Laboratory characteristics, its use to date, problems encountered and their resolution, and future directions. During 2004, the mobile laboratory intervention in three remote Burkina Faso districts experiencing meningitis epidemics led to more specific case management and led directly to vaccination of one district. However, in a second district, the intervention occurred too late to allow vaccination. During 2006, the Mobile Laboratory was used to conduct an emergency carriage study that for the first time occurred during the peak of a meningococcal serogroup A epidemic. This information is critical for the design of meningococcal conjugate vaccine schedules and vaccine approaches. During 2004-6, technicians in 11 district laboratories received training by Mobile Laboratory staff. Numerous problems with the initial prototype laboratory were identified, namely that the solar power cells could not provide enough energy to the refrigerator and incubator to maintain appropriate temperatures and having a single integrated unit required use of a separate vehicle for specimen transport. A second laboratory was developed during 2005-6 that used a generator or local energy source for power and that had a laboratory that could be detached from the vehicle. Currently the main limitation of the Mobile Laboratory is that it has not been integrated into routine Ministry of Health activities, limiting its use both during and between meningitis seasons.