The “Meningitis-Belt”
By admin April 25, 2017

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The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that nearly 500 people have died this year in Nigeria due to a meningitis outbreak. Nigeria’s Center for Disease Control has reported that there are approximately 4,637 suspected cases lingering around the country. This center has also warned that there are not enough vaccines, more specifically “for the stereotype involved in this specific outbreak.” However, Health Minister Isaac Adewole reported on April 1 that 1.3 million vaccines had been acquired, with 500,000 doses of meningococcal vaccine provided by the WHO. About 820,000 doses have been donated by the British government as well.

Meningitis is an infection of the thin lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This can cause brain damage, whereby untreated is fatal in 50 percent of cases. In 2013, a new strain of meningococcal meningitis developed in Nigeria, this form called “stereotype C.” Sadly, even if the disease is diagnosed at an early stage and the patient begins treatment, about 5 percent to 10 percent of patients die within 24 to 48 hours of occurring symptoms, according to the WHO. The symptoms are usually a stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, headaches, and vomiting. The age group most affected is ages five to fourteen, both sexes equally affected.

Nigeria, among 26 countries, is known as the “meningitis belt” whereby a large amount of epidemics occur. The epidemics occur in relation to the seasons, outbreaking during the dry seasons with low humidity and dust and ending when the rainy season begins. Nigeria alone experiences some of the most drastic degrees of the disease in Africa. The most recent outbreak was in Togo, reported by the WHO on February 23, 2017. WHO meningitis expert, Dr. Olivier Ronveaux, explained that “the very limited supply of vaccines to control outbreaks of meningitis C can affect our ability to control these epidemics.” As of now, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control has support from WHO, US, CDC, UNICEF, and a few other partners to respond to the outbreaks.


Read More:

Vaccinations underway as meningitis kills hundreds in Nigeria

Center for Disease Control and Protection

WHO: Meningococcal disease – Nigeria  

Press Release: HMH Prof. Isaac Adewole on Meningitis Outbreak in Nigeria
WHO and partners provide vaccines to control meningitis C in Nigeria

Thanks for sharing !

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