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Niger: Meningitis and Measles Outbreaks - Apr 2015

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Niger's Ministry of Public Health officially declared measles and meningitis outbreaks on 1 Apr 2015 (OCHA, 14 Apr 2015). As of 18 Apr, the meningitis outbreak had affected all regions except Diffa, with 905 cases recorded since the beginning of the year and a fatality rate of 9,39 per cent. Three health districts had reached the epidemic threshold, with Niamey being the most affected with almost 400 cases. The total number of measles cases stood at 3,080 since the beginning of the year, with 12 health districts having reached the epidemic threshold. Zinder was the most affected region with 2,072 cases. (OCHA, 20 Apr 2015)

By 25 Apr, the number of suspected meningitis cases had increased to 1,543, including 147 deaths. An international investigation team composed of WHO and CDC was deployed to support the Ministry of Public Health’s investigation of the outbreak and reinforce the surveillance capacity in the country. (WHO, 29 Apr 2015)

By 12 May, the number of suspected meningitis cases had tripled to 6,179, including 423 deaths. Eleven districts from the regions of Niger, which includes the capital city, had crossed the epidemic threshold. This includes all five districts in Niamey, where 4,099 suspected cases, including 226 deaths, had been reported. (WHO, 15 May 2015)

As of 25 June, 5,398 suspected measles cases have been registered in Niger including 20 deaths. Zinder region registered 2,869 cases (53% of the total number of cases registered). (UNICEF, 31 Jul 2015)

By 28 Jun, 8,500 suspected meningitis cases and 573 deaths had been reported, and 13 districts had crossed the epidemic threshold. The outbreak peaked in week 19 (4 to 10 May) with 2,182 cases and 132 deaths. The following week (11-17 May) only 1,283 cases and 69 deaths were recorded. Since then, the outbreak has been on the decline with just 11 cases including two deaths reported in week 26 (22 to 28 June 2015). (WHO, 8 Jul 2015)

On 28 Jul, PAHO declared that Africa was at risk of a large meningitis outbreak, and warned that an acute shortage of meningitis C-containing vaccine threatened to severely limit the world’s ability to minimize the number of people affected. (PAHO, 28 Jul 2015)

Early August (week 32), the number of measles cases reached 5,546 while the number of meningitis cases reached 8,520. (OCHA, 28 Aug 2015)