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In Brief: Meningitis infections climb in Niger

DAKAR, 9 March 2009 (IRIN) - As of 6 March the UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported 113 meningitis deaths in Niger among 2,620 people infected. The outbreak is spreading more quickly but is less deadly than during the same period last year, which saw eight times fewer cases but double the mortality rate, according to WHO.

As of the first week of March health officials in neighbouring Nigeria have reported more than 5,200 cases with 323 deaths, according to WHO.

Nigeria has been approved for an emergency shipment of 1.7 million vaccines from WHO’s meningitis vaccine stock, while WHO has asked Niger to submit more information to clarify its vaccine request.

Noting the early onset of the epidemic – infections are typically highest at the end of March – donors are trying to raise emergency funds to supply additional vaccines, improve surveillance and ensure treatment.

pt/np

Theme (s): Health & Nutrition,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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