UNICEF/Serge Wingi A health worker crosses a stream with his bike on his way to vaccinate children in Tanganyika Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) declared Thursday the end of a meningitis outbreak in the territory of Banalia, in northeastern Tshopo province, according to Health Minister.

Iran PressAfrica: Declared in early September of 2021, the meningitis outbreak has killed 205 out of a total of 2,662 notified cases, said Jean-Jacques Mbungani.

"Considering that there has been no contamination for several weeks and the infection rate has fallen below the alert threshold for two consecutive weeks, I am happy to declare the end of the outbreak of meningitis in the Banalia health zone in the Tshopo Province," said Mbungani.

According to Xinhua News Agency, Meningitis is transmitted among people through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions from infected people. Close and prolonged contact or living in close quarters with an infected person facilitates the spread of the disease. Although people of all ages can catch the disease, it mainly affects children and young people.

More than 1.6 million people aged between 1 and 29 years were vaccinated in a massive campaign in 2016 in Tshopo, which lies in the so-called "African meningitis belt" that runs across the continent from Senegal to Ethiopia and comprises 26 countries.

Meningitis outbreaks occurred in several DRC provinces in the past. In 2009, an outbreak in Kisangani infected 214 people and caused 15 deaths, a case fatality ratio of 8 percent.

In November 2020, the World Health Assembly, the global health policy-setting body, approved a roadmap for a meningitis-free world by 2030, with three key objectives: elimination of bacterial meningitis, reduction of vaccine-preventable bacterial meningitis by 50 percent and deaths by 70 percent, as well as reduction of disability and improvement of quality of life after meningitis.


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