Health officials in the north-western state of Kebbi have reported at least 42 fatalities, or a quarter of the 154 people infected from the five local government areas (LGA) reporting cases. In addition, 58 people are still receiving treatment at designated camps.

Nigeria map/CIA

According to Kebbi State’s Director of Disease Control, Aliyu Usman Bunza,  the LGA’s include Jega with 46 cases and 3 deaths , Argungu with 6 cases no death, Gwandu, 36 cases no death, Aliero, 49 cases and 34 deaths, while Zuru recorded 17 cases and 5 deaths.

Reports do not specify the specific type of meningitis implicated in the Kebbi outbreak. It is being attributed to “sleeping in overcrowded and unventilated rooms.”

The Director of Immunization and Disease Control, Hussaini Sahabi said the government has released 20,000 vaccine doses to the affected areas and people have been vaccinated.

The countries of the African Meningitis Belt, including parts of Nigeria, face outbreaks of the deadly bacterial disease every year.

According to the global health non-profit organization, PATH, about 450 million people are at risk of the deadly disease. Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Ethiopia are considered hyperendemic,meaning populations in these countries are at the highest risk of developing meningitis.

This region is not only prone to meningitis, but also very prone to epidemics with other infectiousdiseases such as malaria.

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African meningitis Belt/CDC