The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that an outbreak of meningitis in several states of Nigeria has killed at least 140 people.
Officials say cases have been reported over the last week in six states and has so far infected more than 1,000 people.
Meningitis causes an acute inflammation of the outer layers of the brain and spinal cord.
It was gathered that the current outbreak is the worst in Nigeria since 2009 when it killed at least 156 people. The disease is spreading amidst fears it could be out of control if refugee camps, prisons and police cells become affected through crowds, the BBC’s Chris Ewokor, in Abuja says.
Vaccination is an effective way of preventing against meningitis. However, a new strain, which may have been imported from a neighbouring country is now prevalent in Nigeria and requires a different type of vaccine, Nigerian Minister of Health Isaac Adewole said.
BBC reports that the seasonal outbreak has been attributed to cold nights, dusty winds and dry weather, which were aggravated by traditional beliefs, poor hygiene, and overpopulation. Nigeria lies on the meningitis belt, stretching from the Sahel region to the Horn of Africa, where outbreaks occur regularly.
A few days back, that the Federal Government has deployed epidemiologists and vaccines to arrest the outbreak of a new a strain of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) in parts of the country.
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this last Thursday in Abuja that the new strain, which is not common in Nigeria, was imported from Niger Republic.
Adewole said that the new strain requires a different type of vaccine and a team of epidemiologists have been deployed to address the challenge. He described the outbreak of meningitis in Sokoto and Zamfara states as an unfortunate incidence, stressing that the ministry is working hard to contain the situation.