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Niger: WHO Launches Vaccination To Curb Meningitis Epidemic

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has begun a mass vaccination campaign in response to the ongoing outbreak of meningitis in the Niamey region of Niger.

The UN health agency, in a statement, said the vaccination campaign against meningitis outbreak began on Thursday.

“More than 2,000 cases were recorded in one week last month and 123 people have died,” the WHO said.

Niger is one of 26 African countries where the disease is endemic and persistently poses a high risk in the so-called African meningitis belt.

The recent surge in cases represents a 50 per cent increase from last year, with a mortality rate exceeding six per cent.

The focus of the epicentre is the Niamey region, which has an infection rate of more than 52 cases per 100,000 people.

The UN health agency said other regions, such as Agadez, Zinder, and Dosso, also require urgent intervention to confront high infection rates.

To help protect at-risk communities, the WHO is joining forces with several technical and financial partners to respond to the epidemic with a new vaccine.

Unlike previous jabs, the new meningitis vaccine is single-dose and protects against five strains of the infection.