Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Meningitis outbreak in Nigeria

Some Northern states in Nigeria are currently experiencing a meningitis outbreak. The outbreak which started in mid-January in Kebbi State, has grown to having been reported in 26 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of three States: Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara.

The case tally stands at 1380 cases, including 83 deaths as of 5 April 2015, according to the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria.

Health officials note that Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C is the type reported in confirmed cases.

In Ghana, the meningitis outbreak is ongoing in Upper West Region. As of 5 April 2015, 205 cases with 23 deaths have been reported in the country.

Meanwhile, all schools in and around Niger's capital, Niamey, have been shut until Monday because of a meningitis outbreak that has killed 85 people this year.

A shortage of vaccines to treat the current strain has caused the outbreak to spread, the authorities say.
A campaign to vaccinate all children between two and 15 will begin on Friday, but only half of the 1.2m doses needed are currently available.

Meningitis is an infection of the meninges - the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms can include severe headaches, fever, drowsiness, stiff neck, vomiting, confusion and a fear of light. A rash may also appear.

According to the World Health Organization, it can cause severe brain damage and is fatal in 50% of cases if untreated.

Click to read more on the outbreak in Niger.

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