UN agencies fight meningitis epidemic in northern Burundi

29 July 2004

United Nations relief agencies are teaming up with the Government of Burundi to help fight a meningitis epidemic in the country's north, where 24 cases were confirmed last week.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been helping the Government to treat patients and conduct a vaccination campaign.

Some 400,000 people are targeted for vaccination this week. Almost 77,000 people were vaccinated last week.

According to WHO, the "meningitis belt" in sub-Saharan Africa appears to be extending further south. In 2002, the Great Lakes region was affected by outbreaks in villages and refugees camps which caused more than 2,200 cases, including 200 deaths.


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