1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. West Africa
  4. Côte d’Ivoire

40 dead in meningitis epidemic in northeast Bouna region

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cote d'Ivoire said Tuesday that 40 people have died in a meningitis epidemic that has swept the rebel-held northeastern Bouna region.

Since January, officials have registered 210 cases of meningitis in the rebel-controlled area near the border with Burkina Faso, around 500 kms from the economic capital Abidjan, WHO doctor Aka Bian Tanoh told IRIN.

Tanoh said the epidemic had spread because there had been no vaccinations last year and there was a shortage of medical staff in the region.

Most health centers have closed down in northern Cote d’Ivoire, which was seized by rebels in September 2002.

"The need for a vaccination campaign to stop the transmission is urgent," Tanoh said. "We are talking with the Health Ministry this week to discuss what can be done."

Tanoh, speaking after the return of a WHO team from a two-day assessment visit to the area, said there were still "several" cases of meningitis, mainly in villages around the town of Bouna.

Earlier reports that over 100 people had died from meningitis were false, he said.

But he stressed that the epidemic was not over yet and that people could still die from the disease, which attacks the brain and the central nervous system, causing fever and severe headaches.

Help make quality journalism about crises possible

The New Humanitarian is an independent, non-profit newsroom founded in 1995. We deliver quality, reliable journalism about crises and big issues impacting the world today. Our reporting on humanitarian aid has uncovered sex scandals, scams, data breaches, corruption, and much more.


Our readers trust us to hold power in the multi-billion-dollar aid sector accountable and to amplify the voices of those impacted by crises. We’re on the ground, reporting from the front lines, to bring you the inside story. 


We keep our journalism free – no paywalls – thanks to the support of donors and readers like you who believe we need more independent journalism in the world. Your contribution means we can continue delivering award-winning journalism about crises. Become a member of The New Humanitarian today

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.