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.


Brunetti G et al. Nanotechnological immunoassay for rapid label-free analysis of candidate malaria vaccines. Nanoscale. 2021;13(4):2338-2349. DOI: 10.1039/D0NR08083G

Day C.J, Röltgen K, Pluschke G, Jennings M.P. The cell surface protein MUL_3720 confers binding of the skin pathogen Mycobacterium ulcerans to sulfated glycans and keratin. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2021;15(2):e0009136. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0009136

Hall B.S et al. Inhibition of the SEC61 translocon by mycolactone induces a protective autophagic response controlled by EIF2S1-dependent translation that does not require ULK1 activity. Autophagy. 2021(in press). DOI: 10.1080/15548627.2021.1961067

Warryn L, Dangy J.P, Gersbach P, Gehringer M, Altmann K.H, Pluschke G. An antigen capture assay for the detection of mycolactone, the polyketide toxin of Mycobacterium ulcerans. J Immunol. 2021(in press). DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.2001232

Borel N et al. wIRA: hyperthermia as a treatment option for intracellular bacteria, with special focus on Chlamydiae and Mycobacteria. Int J Hyperthermia. 2020;37:373-383. DOI: 10.1080/02656736.2020.1751312