Meningococcal Meningitis: Clonal Waves of Colonisation and Disease in the Meningitis Belt of Sub-Saharan Africa

Bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency and remains one of the major health problems in Sub-Saharan Africa. The three most important agents are Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenzae. All three pathogens are common colonizers of the human nasopharynx, invasive disease is usually a rare event.

Our research

The bacterial meningitis project involves longitudinal studies of the molecular epidemiology of comparatively carriage and disease of N. meningititdis and S. pneumoniae. The studies are being carried out in Northern Ghana and Burkina Faso and aim to enhance the understanding of the dynamics of meningitis epidemics in the African Meningitis Belt. The results provide important background information for the evaluation and introduction of new conjugate vaccines against meningococcal and pneumococcal infections in Africa.


Gehringer M et al. Configurationally stabilized analogs of M. ulcerans exotoxins mycolactones A and B reveal the importance of side chain geometry for mycolactone virulence. Org Lett. 2019;21(15):5853-5857. DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.9b01947

Guenin-Macé L, Ruf M.T, Pluschke G, Demangel C. Mycolactone: more than just a cytotoxin. In: Pluschke G,Röltgen K, eds. Buruli ulcer: mycobacterium ulcerans disease, 117-134. Cham: Springer, 2019

Ondari E.M et al. Rapid transcriptional responses to serum exposure are associated with sensitivity and resistance to antibody-mediated complement killing in invasive Salmonella Typhimurium ST313. Wellcome Open Res. 2019;4:74. DOI: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15059.1

Ondari E.M. Investigating resistance to antibody-dependent complement-mediated lysis in invasive Salmonella Typhimurium. Basel: University Basel, 2019. PhD, University of Basel, Faculty of Science

Piazena H et al. Thermal field formation during wIRA-hyperthermia: temperature measurements in skin and subcutis of piglets as a basis for thermotherapy of superficial tumors and local skin infections caused by thermosensitive microbial pathogens. Int J Hyperthermia. 2019;36(1):938-952. DOI: 10.1080/02656736.2019.1655594