Niger is in need of more than three million doses of meningitis vaccines in order to avert a possible epidemic.
The west African country is in dire need of immunizing millions as some 75 cases have been reported and one death recorded in half of the country’s eight regions including the capital Niamey this year.
‘‘The (Nigerien) health authorities estimate that they need 3.2 million vaccination doses in case of a meningitis epidemic,” said Niger’s UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The (Nigerien) health authorities estimate that they need 3.2 million vaccination doses in case of a meningitis epidemic.
Niger lies in the “Meningitis belt” which stretches from Senegal to Ethiopia. The disease is said to be most common in the dry season.
In 2015, the country suffered a serious outbreak that left more than 500 people dead and thousands contracted the disease.
The strain was not the common meningococcal meningitis which causes infection in the brain and the spinal cord but the Neisseria meningitides serogroup C.
It was the first large-scale meningitis outbreak caused by the strain to hit any country in Africa’s meningitis belt.
Transmitted from person-to-person through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from carriers, the bacteria’s incubation period is four days. Symptoms include fever, agitation, vomiting and headaches.
Last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had relayed fears of meningitis outbreaks in 2016 in Africa.
The international body particularly singled out Niger and Nigeria.