Since the week ending December 12, 2021, Ethiopia has seen a total of 1,398 suspected meningitis cases with 13 deaths (case fatality ratio (CFR) 0.9%) have been reported from 11 out of 12 regions in the country.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), since the beginning of the outbreak in the country, four regions (Oromia, Somali, SNNPR, Amhara) crossed the epidemic threshold and five regions (Harari, Afar, Addis Ababa, Benishangul-Gumuz and Gambella) crossed the alert threshold.
The UN agency says the ongoing meningitis outbreak in Ethiopia is concerning as the country is responding to multiple disease outbreaks, natural disasters and humanitarian crisis.
Ethiopia is one of the African countries affected with both armed conflict and natural disasters (drought, disease outbreaks) including the ongoing meningitis outbreak. Although a relatively low CFR has been recorded for the meningitis outbreak, it is important that the necessary actions are implemented for its control and prevent any deterioration. A mixed etiology (bacterial and viral) has been identified so far, yet the total number of samples analyzed is relatively low. More sample collection and analysis are needed to identify the dominant pathogen and request the appropriate vaccine for response.
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