More than 265 die in Niger due to meningitis epidemic

Meningitis epidemic hits Niger, left at least 265 dead, amid vaccine shortage

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A meningitis epidemic has caused death of more than 265 people  so far in Niger, reaching vaccines is a problem in the country to halt the disease’s spread, health minister of the country said on Tuesday.

About 3,856 people fell ill according to the records between Jan 1 and May 4 in eight regions of Niger.The capital Niamey has especially been affected badly, Niger’s Health Minister Mano Aghali said in an address broadcast on state-owned television.

All of the schools were closed and children aged from two to 15 were vaccinated in the region around Niamey as the outbreak killed 85 people in April.

Aghali said Niger was facing a shortage of vaccines on the international market. "We only have 50 percent of what's needed to cover our vaccination targets," he said.

The country succeeded to cancel out the "A" strain of meningitis in  2010-2011 with an elimination campaign.

People who get meningococcal meningitis can experience brain damage, deafness, epilepsy or necrosis.

The current outbreak comprises the W135, "C" strain and pneumococcal kinds of meningitis, authorities said.

TRTWorld and agencies