Authorities are now alarmed because of the new WHO meningitis report: 545 victims in Nigeria were registered since the first disease outbreaks were found last week. In spite of the alarmingly high figures, the World Health Organization calms people by telling them that the meningitis epidemic has reached its peak.
More than 8,234 people were brought to the Nigerian hospitals in the past months as medical authorities have diagnosed them with meningitis. Great parts of the patients received vaccines, but physicians worried that the supplies were too little to suffice to all meningitis victims. Their worries were further fueled by recent medical researchers showing that the new meningitis cases have an unusual strain that has never been identified before in Africa.
During the first half of the month of May meningitis incidence grew rapidly, but now statistics show that the epidemic has reached its peak. There are far less meningitis cases identified now that volunteers working at the World Health Organization have carried out a complex vaccination campaign all throughout the affected areas.
Nevertheless, many Nigerians have fallen victims to the dreadful epidemic. Approximately 545 meningitis patients lost their lives as a result of the epidemic and figures could change in the future, depending on individuals’ evolution.
Meningitis outbreaks are specific for the Nigerian territory, especially for the region between Senegal and Ethiopia, which is called “the meningitis belt” due to the powerful epidemics occurring between December and June. The most recent meningitis outbreak was registered in 2009, when around 80,000 cases were identified.
The 1996-1997 outbreak has caused great problems to medical experts as numerous Africans fell victims to the disease. Reports show that 200,000 cases were identified during that period and more than 20,000 people died.
Meningitis outbreaks are so common in these regions, that the World Health Organization does not always warn people about new incidences. Spokespersons have stated that the organization declares an epidemic when disease outbreaks exceed normal values or when they appear outside the specific time interval.
WHO is constantly leading a battle against meningitis and other rare diseases. The organization develops stronger campaigns and adopts stronger measures whenever epidemics occur.
Image Source: Health Map