Meningitis is an infectious and life-threatening bacterial disease that infects and inflames the brain and spinal cord. It’s a disease that the world has been able to prevent through vaccines for more than a decade – yet thousands of people are still dying from it in Africa.
This year alone 750 people have died and more than 8,000 cases have been reported in a Meningitis C outbreak in the north of Nigeria. This is the fourth meningitis C outbreak in the past five years, countering claims that the strain can’t be prepared for because it occurs too infrequently.
Africa has the highest rates of the disease in the world. Up to one in ten of those infected die, while many survivors suffer debilitating after-effects. Twenty six countries – stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east – are affected the most and form the meningitis belt.