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African governments are being urged to do more to control meningitis, especially in the region that stretches from Senegal in the West to Ethiopia in the East.

A paper published in the medical journal, Lancet Neurology, found that while significant progress had been made towards controlling the disease worldwide, the so-called “meningitis belt” in sub-Saharan Africa is lagging behind.

Last year, about eighteen thousand cases were reported in Nigeria and Niger. The contagious disease, which can cause brain damage, blindness and deafness, can be controlled with vaccines. The Meningitis Research Foundation proposes the development of cheaper and more broad-based vaccines and the reduction in cost of diagnostic tests and treatments.

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