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Meningitis kills 668 in west Africa

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  • Meningitis kills 668 in west Africa

    Home >> Life
    UPDATED: 14:59, April 04, 2006
    Death toll caused by meningitis over 660 in west Africa
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    A meningitis outbreak has killed 668 people and infected at least 6,912 in a number of west African countries since January, local media reported on Monday.

    Local media quoted a UN body as saying that up to March 18, 616 deaths and a total of 6,110 cases of the disease had been reported in Burkina-Faso, a landlocked state in west Africa.

    In Niger, the neighboring country of Burkina-Faso, a total of 802 cases of the disease were reported from the end of February till March 10, among which 52 people died.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) said on March 22 that the meningitis outbreak had killed 580 people and infected at least 5,139 in several African countries. The hardest-hit country had been Burkina-Faso.

    The disease had also broken out in Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger and some East African countries, including Kenya, Sudan and Uganda, the WHO said.

    The WHO, and the International Red Cross were ready to help the countries prevent and control the disease. Free vaccinations were being offered.

    Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges of the brain and the spinal cord, most often caused by a bacterial or viral infection and characterized by a fever, vomiting, intense headaches, and a stiff neck. In severe cases, it can cause brain damage and even death.

  • #2
    Re: Meningitis kills 668 in west Africa

    This isn't the right forum for this bird flu article. It just reinforces the point that Burkina Faso is a bird flu flash point. And meningitis is often just an observational diagnosis.

    OUAGADOUGOU, 6 April (IRIN) - Two days after three cases of the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain were officially confirmed 12 kilometres from the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou, bird sales have plummeted but the widespread culling, containment and vaccination measures necessary to prevent the disease from spreading have not started.

    Residents of the immediately affected 23-village Saaba district and the capital Ouagadougou learned about the virus by word-of-mouth and the media. However according to Madi Compaore, the president of the medical centre closest to the outbreak in the Saaba district, although many people understand their birds may die, they still do not realise the potential for human infection.

    "Many people don't understand what bird flu is and how serious it can be - they think it is just like the other animal diseases. They don't realize that if they are not very careful there is the possibility that this disease could be transmitted to humans," he told IRIN. Compaore confirmed that there has been no formal bird flu education in the region.

    Jeanne Ouedraogo, a government officer who learned about bird flu from the newspapers, said: "I have avoided eating poultry just as a simple precaution. I don't know much about the illness so I will stop eating chicken until there is a new instruction."

    According to World Health Organisation guidelines so long as poultry and eggs are properly cooked they do not pose a risk to health. Transmission is caused by proximity to diseased birds.

    Culling not yet started

    Although consumption has cut, in contrast with the mass cullings that have taken place in Europe there has been no sign of a systematic attempt to kill birds, impose hygiene measures, or change the level of exposure to birds in Burkina Faso. The markets are still full and the backyard smallholdings which are common in the region have not been regulated.

    The government has been promising an intensive response against bird flu since Monday, when the Minister of Animal Resources Toemoko Konate first announced the outbreak. It has broadcast news of the outbreak on radio and television, and quarantined and disinfected the campsite where the initial deaths among domestic guinea fowl occurred.

    An international delegation from the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Organisation of Animal Health arrived in Ouagadougou on Wednesday evening to begin assessing the extent of the problem and advising the government on its response.

    The government of Taiwan announced today that it is preparing to dispatch a medical corps and vaccines to Burkina Faso on Friday.

    Neighbouring Ghana has closed its border to all transfers of poultry from Burkina Faso.

    Children are particularly at risk from the failure to cull the birds, according to Bernadette Yameogo, a schools inspector in Saaba. "I am doubly worried because there are primary schools continuing to run very close to bird farms without bearing in mind that the children can be contaminated by the H5N1 virus," she said.

    Yameogo called on the government to launch a public awareness campaign. "The government needs to educate the population about this disease so that they know what the consequences could be."

    Already counting the cost

    The drop in bird sales has already impacted on people dependent on bird sales for their livelihoods.

    "This is a catastrophe," said Boureima Zongo, a bird seller at a market in the suburbs of Ouagadougo, close to Saaba. "I don't have any other way of working except selling birds - it's all I have done for 35 years. Now there is bird flu in Burkina Faso what will become of me? Before bird flu I sold 300 birds each day. Now it's difficult to sell even 10."

    Zongo must feed three wives and 18 children.

    Ousseini Sanfo, 20, another bird seller at the market in Saaba said since Monday lunchtime he has sold just one or two birds per day instead of the average 12. "People have completely stopped eating chicken because this disease has come," said Sanfo. "I don't understand bird flu."

    Not only have sales plummeted but prices have also fallen. Before Monday the price of a bird ranged from 1,000 CFA (US $1.80) to 2,000 CFA. Now it is around 800 francs, and falling.

    The government announced on Tuesday that it would be implementing a compensation program of up to 1,500 CFA (US $2.80).

    "We are at the beginning of our response to the crisis against this disease. We hope that the appropriate measures will be taken," said Saaba Medical Centre president Madi Compaore


    • #3
      Meningitis: More than 660 deaths on nearly 7.000 cases in Burkina and Niger

      babelfished from French:

      Meningitis: More than 660 deaths on nearly 7.000 cases in Burkina and Niger

      Niamey, 04/04 - Some 668 people died of the meningitis c?r?bro-spinale since the beginning of l`ann?e on 6.912 cases listed in Burkina Faso and to Niger, indicated Monday a report/ratio of l`Onu transmitted to l`AFP to Niamey.

      In Burkina, country more struck, "6.110 cases whose 616 deaths were recorded beginning of l`ann?e at the week of March 18, are a rate of lethality of 10,08%", note the report published by the office for the Coordination of the Humane Businesses of l`Onu (OCHA).

      Vaccination campaigns in the medical districts, the equipment in drugs and the public awareness campaigns were undertaken by the authorities with l`appui of world l`organisation of health (WHO), brought back the same source.

      March 17, 2006, the medical authorities Burkinab? made state d`au less 330 deaths on a total of 2.919 cases of meningitis notified during last three months.

      According to them, l`epidemy prevails in the major part of the 55 medical districts of the country, but its principal hearth is localised in south-west, in particular in the rural zone of the Top-Basins, the area of the Cascades.

      In addition, l`OCHA indicates qu`au Niger, close to Burkina, some 802 cases of meningitis whose 52 deaths were notified between the beginning of l`ann?e and on March 10 and about half of the cases were listed between the end February and this date.
      ...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. - Sherlock Holmes


      • #4
        Mali - Meningitis: the situation is under control

        babelfished from French:

        Meningitis: the situation is under control
        Rise n?15679 - 2006-04-07 08:00:00

        The whole of the country adds up 98 cases of meningitis and 9 deaths during the week of March 27 at April 2. With 77 cases, Sikasso shelters the largest quota of people reached.

        The epidemics of meningitis generally intervene every ten years. It is necessary more than 10 cases of meningitis on 100.000 inhabitants per week in a locality to declare an epidemic.

        The last great epidemic of meningitis in our country goes up at 1997. Even if one is not yet there, one can note that meningitis prevails in certain circles of the area of Sikasso: Kadiolo, Kolondi?ba and Yanfolila, inter alia.
        According to statistics' provided by the head of the Division prevention fights against disease (DPLM) of the national direction of health, Dr. Sory Ibrahim Bamba, the whole of the country recorded 98 cases of meningitis and 9 deaths in the week of March 27 at April 2. The area of Sikasso [very close to the border of Burkina Faso] with 77 cases shelters the largest quota of people reached of the disease.

        These figures can appear excessive for the laymen, but, on the matter, they translate simply a peak (a small increase in case) which generally occurs in this period of heat, because meningitis, according to the expert, exists during all the year.

        To circumscribe the phenomenon, the authorities took the initiative and decided practical measurements. Sory Ibrahim Bamba explained, on this subject, why drugs (Ceftriaxone) were sent in the hearths of epidemic to look after the patients. By elsewhere of important quantities of vaccine are placed at the disposal of these localities to immunize the pupils. In the other areas, the chief of the DPLM specified, of the drugs and vaccines were pr?positionn?s for the fast and effective assumption of responsibility of possible cases.

        It is advisable to recall that the vaccine against the m?ningocoque one immunizes during approximately 3 years and can be managed as of the 2 years age. If Sikasso is the most touched area, well of other localities patients shelter. On the 98 recorded cases of meningitis, the areas of Koulikoro, Mopti, S?gou, Tombouctou and the District of Bamako, are concerned, respectively with 1, 4, 3, 1 and 12 declared cases. In these localities, the pupils will receive the anti vaccine m?ningocoque (AC) very effective against the stocks A and C of m?ningocoque, persons in charge until there for the disease in the various localities.

        Moreover the national direction of health gave therapeutic directives to the socio-medical teams for the best dealt with of the cases. Other orientations were given on the manner of carrying out the taking away to make it possible to determine the stocks causes some (there are some several) and the vaccine to be used.

        In certain countries of the African continent located in the belt of meningitis, in particular at our neighbors burkinab? and native of Niger, of many cases of disease are listed. Burkina Faso and Niger recorded more than 7.000 cases and 660 deaths according to the Agency France press (AFP). Certain localities of the area of Sikasso being frontier of Burkina, the situation worries with many regards our compatriots.

        Sory Ibrahim Bamba indicated that in the border areas a public awareness campaign is in hand. This one will make it possible to provide information useful for the populations, in particular on the need for sprinkling their environment. The chief of the DPLM observes that the m?ningocoque one is transmitted by the air. Consequently an arid environment is a factor supporting the propagation of the microbe.

        Is the situation alarming? Not, Sory Ibrahim Bamba which estimates it even controlled, therefore under control ensures.

        This year, the first case of meningitis was declared in our country in February.

        B. DOUMBIA

        Mali borders on both Burkina Faso and Niger:
        ...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. - Sherlock Holmes


        • #5
          Re: Meningitis kills 668 in west Africa

          Why do I get the feeling these cases and deaths are not all meningitis.

          Hmmmm, what with that announcement from WHO today and the recent announcement from Burkina Faso about having BF.

          This is not looking good.


          • #6
            INTERVIEW-Bird flu may have infected people in West Africa


            INTERVIEW-Bird flu may have infected people in West Africa

            By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
            NAIROBI, April 10 (Reuters) - Bird flu may have infected people in West Africa and weak health systems in the region could be delaying detection of human cases, a World Health Organisation official said on Monday.
            Burkina Faso became the fourth West African country to detect the dangerous H5N1 strain of bird flu in poultry last week. Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon have already confirmed the virus since it spread to the continent in February.
            The disease has also been found in Egypt, where three people have died after being infected with the virus.
            "So far, there is no confirmed human case of avian flu virus infection in West Africa but this is not a reason to say there is no human case," Honore Meda, a WHO medical officer who represented the health body at a bird flu seminar in Nairobi, told Reuters in an interview. "There is a risk and probability of human cases occurring in West Africa but there's no evidence to say there is or there is not a human case. But so far we are not in a position to confirm firmly that there's no detected human case."
            The WHO said in February that it planned to test samples from four Nigerians, including a woman who died, for bird flu. However, the samples failed to yield a clear result.
            Bird flu has spread rapidly since 2003 from Asia to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. While mainly affecting animals, scientists fear the disease could mutate into a form that could pass between humans, causing a pandemic.
            More than 100 people have died after being infected with the virus since 2003, most of them in Asia.
            Experts are meeting in the Kenyan capital this week for a U.N. Environmental Programme bird flu seminar.
            Delays in pinpointing outbreaks in poultry highlight the difficulty faced by African countries which lack the specialised laboratories needed to identify the different bird flu strains.
            "In Africa, only in the big cities you can see very good laboratory equipment. In rural areas, where they are really involved in poultry, there is no effective laboratory," Meda said.
            Sparse hospitals and primary medical services, lack of health education, poor communications and the prevalence of a host of other deadly diseases all mitigate against rapid detection of any human cases of bird flu on the continent.
            "The health system is usually weak ... We should really strengthen our health systems and surveillance systems to be able to detect and confirm any new case occurring in humans," Meda said.