Health officials in Niger are increasing meningitis prevention efforts as the peak period for the deadly disease - March to May - approaches. "We are supporting teams from the Ministry of Health, giving advice, investigating infected homes and giving medicine and vaccinations," said Garba Soga, prevention control manager with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Niger. "Niger is in the middle of Africa's meningitis belt. Every dry season there are epidemics." During the dry season in West Africa, typically October to June, dust winds from North Africa and cold nights lead to more respiratory infections, making people more susceptible to meningitis, the WHO said. (IRIN)

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