WHO: Nigeria pioneers revolutionary meningitis vaccine

April 13, 2024  18:42

Africa's most populous country Nigeria has become the first country in the world to release a "revolutionary" meningitis vaccine, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

"Meningitis is an old and deadly enemy, but this new vaccine has the potential to change the trajectory of the disease, prevent future outbreaks and save many lives," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"The introduction of the vaccine in Nigeria brings us one step closer to our goal of eliminating meningitis by 2030," he said.

The Men5CV vaccine protects against five major strains of meningococcal bacteria (A, C, W, Y and X) in a single administration.

WHO said the vaccine offers broader protection than the current vaccine used in much of Africa, which is only effective against strain A.

Meningitis cases in Africa jumped 50 per cent last year.

Nigeria, with a population of 220 million, is one of 26 countries with a high endemic of meningitis on the continent, known as the African Meningitis Belt.

WHO said 153 people died in the meningitis outbreak in Nigeria between 1 October and 11 March.

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