- A meningitis outbreak that a number of deaths Burkina Faso this month has spread to other countries in the West Africa region, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has confirmed.
The World Health Organisation declared meningitis epidemic in the region this year.
A number of meningitis cases had been reported in Niger Nigeria and Mali since the end of last year. Suspect cases had also been reported in other West African countries.
Herve Ludovic de Lys, the head of OCHA in West Africa has strongly encouraged states to quickly "mobilise all resources available to contain the onset of the epidemic."
Burkinabé authorities had reported 119 cases and 19 deaths on 23 January, a far cry from OCHA's reported 297 cases and 52 deaths during the first two weeks of January.
Poor and landlocked, Burkina Faso fall within the "meningitis belt" that cut across sub-Saharan Africa.
OCHA said 18 countries of sub-Saharan Africa region are particularly prone to the meningitis epidemic, especially during the dry season.
At least 2,000 people were killed by an outbreak of meningitis in nine West African countries in 2007, with Burkina Faso alone accounting more than 250 deaths.
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