Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the protective membrane around the brain and spinal cord. It is usually bacterial or viral and occasionally is due to fungal infections, and can cause death within hours. Niger, one of the world's poorest countries, is prone to frequent meningitis epidemics. A meningitis epidemic that broke out in January 2015 has so far killed 45 people, informed Mano Aghali, the health minister of Niger.
Minister Aghali said, "From January 1 to March 29, 2015, some 345 cases of meningitis, including 45 fatalities, have been reported, which is a fatality rate of 15.3%. The capital Niamey is one of the hardest hit areas, with 18 deaths among 119 cases, while neighboring Dosso has seen 18 deaths from 157 cases. All regions, except Diffa in the southeast, have seen cases. But the situation is under control."
Health authorities in Niger have distributed 13,500 doses of the vaccine and medicines, that are being administered free of charge within zones suffering from the epidemic.