- More than 1,900 people have died from meningitis in the sub-Saharan Africa region known as the meningitis belt since the outbreak began late last year in West Africa.
According to the medical charity organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) only in Nigeria, Niger and Chad, a team of MSF in collaboration with health authorities have served more than 56,000 patients and are currently vaccinating more than seven million people.
“Every day, medical teams are going to health centers in urban and remote areas to collect data, monitor and treat patients, and donate drugs to the health structures,” MSF stated. It further said that dozens of medical teams also carried out vaccination campaigns to reduce the impact of the epidemic in the West African region.
Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection of the membrane of the brain highly contagious and potentially deadly. The bacterium is spread from person to person when an infected individual coughs or sneezes.
The meningitis epidemic currently affecting northern Nigeria is said to be the worst since 1996.
Medical teams have been working for four months in nine states to contain the spread of the epidemic. There have been about 50,000 cases and 1,500 people have died from the disease only in Nigeria.
"This year, the epidemic has severely affected Nigeria," emergency coordinator for MSF in Nigeria, Ibrahim Younis said.
However, he said with the efforts of the teams some results in a reduction of cases in some areas were being seen, while other areas cases continue to rise.
“Furthermore, in relation to the number of cases we are not seeing many deaths due to the effectiveness of the antibiotic given to the patient," he said.
Chad has reported 114 deaths from meningitis. MSF teams have begun a vaccination campaign in Dourbaki in the south and continue into Goundi and Pala. It is estimated that so far 120,000 people has been vaccinated.
In Niger the epidemic has spread to several areas of the south. Medical teams are working with the Ministry of Health to treat patients of meningitis and administer vaccines in the regions of Dosso, Maradi and Zinder, according to th nedical charity.
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