Nigeria To Lose More People To Meningitis As Vaccine Runs Out
There is fire on the mountain.
Meningitis is threatening to wipe out more people in Nigerian.
Just last year, 14,500 people suffered from the disease and thousands died.
And this year alone, the disease has claimed 1,150 people, according to Nigeria's Centre for Disease Control.
But the problem now is that more people stand the risk of dying from the disease because of lack of the medicine that treats and prevents it.
In April, a mass vaccination campaign was launched in the northwestern states, but it could not go round because there wasn't enough of the medicine that Nigeria could afford to buy.
Government said it has acquired at least 1.3 million meningitis C vaccines but aid agencies fear that they are not enough as several more millions are needed to contain the outbreak.
Several health experts who spoke to Thomas Reuters Foundation said previous vaccination campaigns to protect against frequent meningitis A outbreaks - which killed more than 2,000 people in 2009 - have allowed the C strain to become dominant and spread widely among the unprotected population.
"This outbreak is not just one of the worst in number of cases and deaths, but in terms of how far it has spread across Nigeria," Miriam Alia, a vaccination and outbreak response adviser at MSF said.
"Nigeria needs the medicine to prevent outbreak of the disease but the shortage means that the available medicine can only be used to respond to such outbreaks, rather than to prevent future epidemics in high risk areas," Alia added.
Meningitis is the inflammation of tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord, which can be caused by viral or bacterial infections. It spreads mainly through kisses, sneezes and coughs.
Symptoms include fever, headaches and vomiting.