Death toll in Nigeria’s meningitis outbreak some four months ago has climbed to 813 since last week’s reported 745 deaths.
The new figure was disclosed by Health Minister Isaac Adewole on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting in Abuja, local media report.
He acknowledged that there is a decline in the number of deaths and expressed confidence that the epidemic will end in the next weeks.
Over 8,000 suspected cases of the disease have been reported across the country over the past five months, some 93 percent of which occurred in five northern states (Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Niger and Kebbi), a statement said.
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.
Nigeria lies in the so-called “meningitis belt” of sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, where outbreaks of the disease are a regular occurrence.