Nearly 1,000 deaths from meningitis this year

Thousands of people have contracted meningitis in Niger since the beginning of the year and over 7 percent of those have died, a World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesman in the capital Niamey told IRIN on Wednesday.

Some 13,231 cases of the disease have been registered between 1 January and 20 June, of whom 969 have died. With the arrival of the rainy season and vaccination campaigns, WHO added, much of the danger has passed.

Outbreaks of meningitis are associated in the Sahel region in the early months of the year when the dry harmattan winds blow southward.