ABUJA-- The number of states affected by the outbreak of cerebrospinal meningitis, an acute inflammation of the meninges of the brain and spinal cord, has increased from 16 to 17 states across Nigeria, with two new cases recorded in the southwestern state of Oyo.
Director of public health in Oyo State Oyewole Lawal confirmed Thursday that the new suspected cases were recorded in Akinyele district of Ibadan, the state capital.
"The two suspects arrived in Ibadan from the northern part of the country and they manifested some symptoms of cerebrospinal meningitis," the official told reporters.
He said the government had beefed up tracking and increased surveillance efforts in all primary, secondary and private health facilities across the state.
The outbreak has so far claimed 336 lives across Nigeria, the most populous African country, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.
Minister of Health Isaac Adewole said Type C is a new strain, which is not common in Nigeria. This was imported from neighboring Niger, he said, adding it requires a different type of vaccine.
The symptoms include fever, rash, headache, and vomiting.
As of Monday, a total of 2,997 suspected cases of cerebrospinal meningitis were reported in 16 states. A total of 146 cases were laboratory-confirmed.
The seasonal outbreak of meningitis is expected in Nigeria due to its location and occasioned by factors like cold nights, dusty winds and dry weather.
The current problem was aggravated by formidable factors like traditional beliefs, poor hygiene, and overpopulation, experts told Xinhua.
The Nigerian government has deployed epidemiologists and vaccines to arrest the outbreak. Vaccination is an effective way of controlling the disease.
Nigeria's central state of Kogi is at high risk of the disease, the Nigerian Medical Association said on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, the southern oil-producing Akwa Ibom State declared a red alert on meningitis.
Immunization and sensitization services had been bolstered across the country in the past weeks.
Source: Philippines News Agency