The health ministry reported that meningitis has become contagious at Burkina Faso and has taken the lives of hundreds of people. Thousands are reported to be infected.
'We have identified 3,181 suspected cases of meningitis from January 1 until March 2, 2008, of whom 366 have died,' said Doctor Ousmane Badolo, head of epidemiology surveillance at the ministry of health.
Fourteen districts are affected, of which five have declared a state of epidemic. Two have been downgraded following vaccination campaigns.
Badolo said Burkina Faso had enough vaccines to cover all infected districts although needs could change if the outbreak worsens.
Meningitis is very contagious, causing fever, dizziness, vomiting and a stiff neck. It becomes an epidemic when 10 out of 100,000 inhabitants have contracted it.
Health Minister Alain Bedouma announced Wednesday that Burkina Faso managed to raise over 4,5 million euros from numerous international donor countries and organisations for a plan to fight the disease that was set up in 2007.
In 2007 an epidemic killed more than 2,000 people in nine west African countries, 75 percent of them in Burkina Faso, according to United Nations agencies.