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Meningitis epidemic strikes

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posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 09:55 AM
Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment, while bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disability. For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to know which type of bacteria is causing the meningitis because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other people. Before the 1990s, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis, but new vaccines being given to all children as part of their routine immunizations have reduced the occurrence of invasive disease due to H. influenzae. Today, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.
Source: CDC

The following was taken from:
Worldview blog


More than 200 people have died of meningitis in the past week alone in Niger and Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization.

The disease is an epidemic in 76 areas of the two countries, the health agency reported Wednesday.

A spokesman for W.H.O. in Nigeria, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, said Saturday that the outbreak is bigger than usual and stretches across the African meningitis belt from east- to west-sub-Saharan Africa.

The outbreak began around the start of the year, Soyinka told CNN. It usually peaks in the dry season because of dust, winds and cold nights, before dipping around May when the rains come, he said.

A shortage of vaccines means officials are relying on "effective prevention," in which they watch for outbreaks and then vaccinate people in the epicenter and surrounding areas, Soyinka told CNN.

There have been nearly 25,000 suspected cases and more than 1,500 deaths in the meningitis belt in the first 11 weeks of the year, W.H.O. reported. More than 85 percent of those cases happened in northern Nigeria and Niger.

Nigeria's Ministry of Health has reported 17,462 suspected cases of meningococcal disease, including 960 deaths, the world health agency said. In the past week, it reported 4,164 suspected cases with 171 deaths.

For much more information on this developing story, see the: Worldview blog

posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 10:10 AM
Here is an update:

WHO sends experts to help fight meningitis outbreak in Nigeria

The World Health Organization is sending several experts to help Nigeria’s Ministry of Health deal with a large meningitis outbreak in its northern states.

Nigerian health authorities have reported more than 17,000 suspected cases of meningitis, including 960 deaths. WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib says this is the first time there have been so many cases in northern Nigeria but there are 300 million people in the so-called ‘meningitis belt' who are at risk of the disease every year.


posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 10:14 AM
Is this because they have no treatment?
Or is it a different untreatable strain?

posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 10:19 AM
reply to post by aLiiEn

There is treatment:

I just posted this on the Worldview blog:

One third of the world’s stockpiled meningitis vaccine doses have been dispatched to West Africa where an outbreak has killed more than 1,100 people since January, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.

Meningitis is an infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Infection rates in Africa tend to rise during the dry and hot period from January to May.

So far this year, the WHO said nearly 25,000 suspect cases have been reported across the “meningitis belt” that stretches from Senegal to Ethiopia, with 85 percent of those concentrated in Niger and Nigeria. WHO says 300 million people in that area are at risk of the disease every year.

The current epidemic is the biggest these countries have faced in the past five years,” said Fadela Chaib, a spokeswoman for the U.N. agency.

In response, more than 4 million meningitis vaccine doses - one third of the world’s emergency stockpile of 13 million doses - have been released to boost immunity levels in those two countries, she told a news briefing in Geneva.

Here is the link to the original source: health

posted on Mar, 31 2009 @ 09:44 PM
There have been two cases in my community in southcentral Oklahoma in the last couple of years. Both bacterial and both victims lost limbs. I can remember my mom talking about her brother that died (in 1920s) with spinal meningitis in which the head drew back toward the spine.

posted on Apr, 30 2009 @ 10:39 PM
Still ongoing and a real threat to West Africa. The death toll is around 1900 with over 56,000 reported cases!!!

Doctors target meningitis outbreak in Africa

Aren't you all glad that we are not panicking about a meningitis pandemic right now? Oh wait.. I almost forgot about this..

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