Abuja, – A meningitis outbreak in Nigeria has killed 745 people, an increase of more than 50 per cent in barely a week, officials said sounding the alarm over the feared epidemic.

The flare-up of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) serotype C cases is concentrated in northern Nigeria, where authorities convened a meeting of governors and traditional leaders from all states in the region, said a government statement.

“State governors reaffirmed their commitment to immediate and concrete actions towards halting the outbreak,” said the statement after the meeting, held in collaboration with the federal health ministry and national agencies.

Over 8,000 suspected cases of the disease have been reported across the country over the past five months, some 93 per cent of which occurred in five northern states, a statement said. The new death toll was a rise of 52 per cent on last week’s total of 489 dead.

The mass outbreak has mostly affected children, prompting a large-scale vaccination programme.

Meningitis is caused by different types of bacteria, six of which can cause epidemics. It is transmitted between people through coughs and sneezes and facilitated by cramped living conditions and close contact.

The illness causes acute inflammation of the outer layers of the brain and spinal cord, with the most common symptoms being fever, headache and neck stiffness.(QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency