Vaccines short as meningitis epidemic erupts in West Africa

2015-08-07 14:17

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Lagos - International health officials are scrambling to find meningitis C vaccines as an outbreak of the child-killing disease threatens to balloon.

The first large-scale outbreak of the C strain in decades has already killed 800 of 12 000 people infected this year in Nigeria and neighbouring Niger.

The World Health Organisation says experts have been taken by surprise. Cases have been increasing since 2013.

Health officials want to stockpile five million doses but manufacturers say they cannot produce that amount.

Nigerian health leaders this week repeated demands that the government reopen a lab in Lagos which once produced millions of vaccines.

The director of Nigeria's Centre for Disease Control, Abdulsalami Nasidi, says he fears the potential number of fatalities if a vaccine shortage and meningitis epidemic collide.

Read more on:    who  |  niger  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  health  |  meningitis
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