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13 Dec 2011 06:35 AM

Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad to introduce new meningitis vaccine


"The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said that Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, who are in the 'meningitis belt' stretching across Africa, will this month introduce a new vaccine designed to eliminate a particular strain of the often deadly disease," Afrique en ligne reports (12/10). "Alison Brunier, a spokesperson for WHO, told journalists in Geneva that the three countries plan to vaccinate about 22 million people [among] them, focusing on the highest-risk demographic category -- those aged between one and 29 years" and that "the immunization campaign should be completed within a couple of weeks," the U.N. News Centre writes (12/9).

"A statement made available to PANA in New York stated that the countries will vaccinate millions of their citizens with 'MenAfriVac,' which was created to target Group A meningitis, responsible for millions of cases in sub-Saharan Africa over the past century," Afrique en ligne notes (12/10). "A year ago, Burkina Faso became the first country to conduct a nationwide campaign using MenAfriVac, and, according to Brunier, the campaign would be extended to 19 other countries within the belt (Senegal in the West to Ethiopia in the East) by 2016," Nigeria's Leadership writes (Oluwarotimi, 12/11).

This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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