The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has said that the number of people who have died as a result of cerebrospinal meningitis is now 438.
Incident manager of the centre, John Oladejo, made this known in a statement, adding that mass vaccination is currently under way in the affected states of the federation.
“As at April 5, 2016, 3,959 suspected cases have been reported as part of the current outbreak, of which 181 cases have been laboratory-confirmed,” the statement read.
“A total of 438 deaths (11 per cent of all cases) have been reported from 106 LGAs in 19 states in the country and outbreak response and control activities are ongoing in the State to curtail the outbreak”, he added.
Reports say that residents have been turning out in good numbers to receive the meningitis vaccine in Zamfara state, which is reportedly the most affected by the disease.
The state governor, Abdulaziz Yari, drew huge criticism when he described the outbreak across the country as a sign of God’s anger over the sins of Nigerians.
However, the NCDC said it began the vaccination exercise in eight local government areas which have the most number of cases in Zamfara State.
According to the centre, it was targeting 300,000 persons aged 2 – 29 years, beginning from Thursday, April 6 to Sunday, April 9.
The exercise is being coordinated by the Secretary to the Zamfara State Government and Chairman of the Zamfara State Committee for the Control of Meningitis, Abdullahi Shinkafi, in collaboration with the Chief Executive Officer of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, who is leading an NCDC technical team to monitor and supervise the campaign.
“The team of experts is tasked with planning, coordinating and implementing an effective vaccination campaign in collaboration with the recently commissioned Meningitis Emergency Operations Centre at NCDC”, read a statement issued by the NCDC on Friday.
It added that“traditional leaders and several community groups are helping with mobilization of people across the state.”
“Reports from the field indicate early progress in the vaccination exercise. In Zamfara State, there has been a massive turnout recorded in the target local government areas.”
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, had also mandated the NCDC to activate an Emergency Operations Centre to support effective outbreak response coordination across the entire country.