(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Meningitis death toll tops 900

Some 908 out of 6,234 people infected with meningitis in Burkina Faso have died this year, the health ministry said in a communiqué on Thursday.

The death rate is 14.57 percent, it said, adding that in the 14th week alone, 438 cases were registered, while 61 people died, bringing the death rate to 13.93 percent. Most deaths are due to the killer W135 strain first detected in the country two years ago. "The health minister has elaborated a strategy that has helped contain the epidemics," the communique said.

On-the-spot tests to determine the strain of meningitis prevailing in various places have been conducted at a mobile laboratory which the government recently deployed throughout the country.

Due to insufficient W135 vaccines, the authorities have opted for reactive vaccination - vaccinating populations where cases appear. The government has so far received 1.5 million doses of vaccines from the World Health Organization. Burkina Faso has 12 million people.

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