NIAMEY. — The Nigerien health minister says a meningitis epidemic that broke out in the West African country last January has so far killed 75 patients.
Speaking yesterday in a televised address, Health Minister Mango Aghali announced that the total number of meningitis infections across the country currently stand at 697.
Niger is often prone to meningitis outbreak due to its geographic position in the “meningitis belt,” which stretches from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in East Africa, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Aghali added that over half of the deaths have occurred in the nation’s capital of Niamey, though the epidemic has spread to all parts of the country, with the exception of the south-eastern border area of Diffa.
He said a vaccination campaign is due to commence next week in the most affected areas of the country. This is while health authorities have already distributed 13 500 doses of vaccine.
Meanwhile, an earlier report indicated that the epidemic had only affected 345 individuals between January 1 and March 29, with just 45 fatalities.
The disease – an inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord – may lead to death within hours. — Press TV.