Nigeria pioneers deployment of revolutionary Meningitis vaccine

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read

Nigeria has become the first country in the world to introduce a groundbreaking five-in-one vaccine against meningitis. The Men5CV vaccine offers robust protection against the five major strains of meningococcal bacteria (A, C, W, Y, and X) responsible for the disease.

This represents a significant leap forward compared to the current vaccine used across much of Africa, which only defends against the A strain.

“Meningitis is a long-standing and lethal adversary,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “This new vaccine has the potential to revolutionize the fight against meningitis, preventing future outbreaks and saving countless lives.”

The rollout in Nigeria marks a crucial step towards WHO’s goal of eliminating meningitis entirely by 2030.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It can be fatal, with common symptoms including fever, headache, and a stiff neck.

The disease can have various causes, including viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic pathogens. Bacterial meningitis, the most severe form, can also lead to blood poisoning and rapid death within 24 hours of infection.

Nigeria is one of 26 African countries classified as hyper-endemic for meningitis, forming a region known as the African Meningitis Belt.

According to the WHO, a recent outbreak in Nigeria claimed 153 lives between October 1, 2023, and March 11, 2024. In response, a vaccination campaign was launched in late March, aiming to reach over one million people under the age of 30.

“Northern Nigeria, particularly the states of Jigawa, Bauchi, and Yobe, bore the brunt of the recent meningitis outbreak,” said Professor Muhammad Ali Pate of the Nigerian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. “This vaccine equips healthcare workers with a powerful new tool to not only contain the current outbreak but also pave the way for its eradication in Nigeria.”

The WHO emphasizes the potential of the new vaccine to dramatically reduce meningitis cases and significantly advance efforts to defeat the disease, particularly in nations like Nigeria where multiple strains are prevalent.

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