NIGERIA

 
Published: Monday 15 April 1996

-- A meningitis epidemic has broken out in the country claiming more than 2,655 lives, most of them children, says a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report. At least 20 million Nigerians are reported to be at risk. The disease, identified as spinal meningitis, is highly contagious and is spread by any form of physical or respiratory contact. It can be prevented by vaccination and isolation of suspected carriers. Since January, 17,668 meningitis cases have been reported, of which 80 per cent are children under age 14, said WHO spokesperson Philippe Stroot. Other diseases like cholera and measles are also widespread in the country.

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