Outbreak of meningitis in Congo with 129 dead

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The death toll from the epidemic stands at 129 meningitis which broke out in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the office of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa announced today.

“The Democratic Republic of Congo has declared a meningitis outbreak in Chopo province in the northeastern part of the country, where a total of 261 suspected cases and 129 deaths (50% mortality) were reported on September 7, 2021,” the WHO said in a statement.

According to the international organization, “confirmation tests carried out by the Pasteur Institute in Paris have identified meningococcus (Neisseria meningitidis) – one of the bacteria that causes the most common form of meningitis, which can potentially cause widespread epidemics.”

“Meningitis is a serious infection and a major public health challenge. “We are acting quickly, using drugs and experts, to support the government in controlling this outbreak as soon as possible.”

The outbreak was reported in the Banalia area. A response committee was set up there as well as in Kisangani, the capital of Chopo, according to the announcement.

“Several patients are already receiving treatment at home and others at Banalia health centers,” the statement said.

What about the disease

Meningitis is a disease that is difficult to diagnose as its first symptoms, such as headaches or fever, are similar to those of other common diseases.

This disease often has irreversible consequences, such as deafness and mental retardation in children.

According to the WHO office in Africa, more than 1.6 million people (aged 1 to 29) were vaccinated in a mass immunization campaign in 2016 in Chopo province, which is located in the African meningitis zone that extends across continent from Senegal to Ethiopia, crossing 26 countries.

Outbreaks of meningitis have been reported in many parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the past. In 2009, an outbreak in Kisangani killed 15 people out of a total of 214 cases.

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