Home Health Nigeria Introduces World’s First Meningitis Vaccine Men5CV | Health News

Nigeria Introduces World’s First Meningitis Vaccine Men5CV | Health News


Nigeria Introduces World's First Meningitis Vaccine Men5CV

Nigeria Introduces World’s First Meningitis Vaccine Men5CV (Image Credits: iStock)

Nigeria has made history by being the first nation to introduce a novel vaccine, Men5CV, endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). It can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites and can lead to serious complications, including brain damage, hearing loss and learning disabilities. This vaccine guards against five strains of meningococcus bacteria, marking a significant milestone in global health. The introduction of the latest vaccine marks a notable progression from past vaccines, many of which focused solely on one or two strains.

What Is Meningitis?

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges. It is typically caused by an infection, often viral or bacterial, but it can also result from other causes such as fungal infections, parasites, or non-infectious factors like certain medications or autoimmune diseases. Meningitis can lead to serious complications and requires prompt medical attention.

Symptoms Of Meningitis

Symptoms of meningitis includes:

– Fever,

– Headache,

– Neck stiffness,

– Sensitivity to light,

– Nausea, and vomiting.

African Meningitis Belt

Bacterial meningitis, particularly caused by the meningococcus bacteria, poses a significant threat in Africa, notably in the “African meningitis belt,” encompassing 26 countries, including Nigeria. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), reported cases of meningitis across Africa increased by 50 percent last year.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated in a press release that Nigeria’s vaccine distribution brings the world closer to the WHO’s goal of eradicating meningitis by 2030. He emphasized, “This new vaccine has the potential to alter the course of the disease, preventing future outbreaks and saving numerous lives.”

How Does New Vaccine Help Combat Meningitis?

The latest vaccine provides broader protection compared to previous ones, guarding against multiple strains (A, C, W, Y, and X) of the meningococcus bacteria, all capable of causing meningitis and blood poisoning. This proves critical, particularly in regions like the meningitis belt, where various strains can be in circulation.

Funding for this life-saving vaccine and its distribution is facilitated by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, ensuring its accessibility on a wider scale.

Nigeria encountered a meningitis outbreak between October 1, 2023, and March 11, 2024, resulting in 1,742 suspected cases, with 101 confirmed cases and 153 fatalities. The outbreak spanned seven states: Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina, Yobe, and Zamfara.

To combat this deadly outbreak, a vaccination campaign was launched from March 25 to March 28, 2024, targeting an initial coverage of over one million individuals aged 1 to 29 years.

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