Nigeria becomes first country to roll out new meningitis vaccine, WHO says

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[April 13, 2024]  By Ope Adetayo

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria has become the first country in the world to roll out the "revolutionary" new Men5CV vaccine against meningitis, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Nigeria is one of the hotspots of the deadly disease in Africa. Last year, a 50% rise in annual cases was reported across 26 African countries regarded as meningitis hyperendemic countries, according to the WHO.

“Nigeria's rollout brings us one step closer to our goal to eliminate meningitis by 2023," Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, was quoted as saying in a statement.

Between last October and mid-March this year, 1,742 cases were suspected in the country, with 153 deaths recorded in seven states in Nigeria, data from the WHO shows.

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The World Health Organization logo is pictured at the entrance of the WHO building, in Geneva, Switzerland, December 20, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The new vaccine is reported to protect against the five major strains of the disease that are prevalent in Nigeria, unlike the initial vaccine that works against only one strain, said the WHO.

(Reporting by Ope Adetayo; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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