Western Africa

Published: Friday 28 February 1997

At least 217 people have succumbed to spinal meningitis over the past two months in Togo, Burkina Faso and Ghana, according to a recent World Health Organization (who) report. who said in a statement that at least 1,571 people have been affected by the epidemic, adding that the figure was based on reports from the three governments received at the regional offices of the organization.

The first cases were reported from Togo from where the disese spread to Burkina Faso and Ghana. In fact, all the three countries had experienced a spinal meningitis epidemic during the first half of 1996.

According to a who official, the new epidemic has broken out because of draught and windstorms throughout the 'African meningitis belt' stretching from Ethiopia in the east of the continent to Senegal in the west. To tackle the malady menace, Togo has launched a vaccination campaign, while who has provided medicines, fuel and expertise to curb the outbreak.

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