Nigeria: at least 17 schoolchildren die of meningitis, 473 suspected cases Nigeria: at least 17 schoolchildren die of meningitis, 473 suspected cases

Nigeria: at least 17 schoolchildren die of meningitis, 473 suspected cases

Nigeria: at least 17 schoolchildren die of meningitis, 473 suspected cases

At least 17 schoolchildren from five schools have died following an outbreak of meningitis in Yobe state in northern Nigeria.

Primary school students were among the victims, according to the state education commissioner, Mohammed Sani-Idris, interviewed by the BBC. It adds that a total of 473 suspected cases have been recorded so far and that the dry season could "increase the risk of infection, especially in cases of overcrowding and poor ventilation."

Meningitis is an infection that causes acute inflammation of the outer layers of the brain and spinal cord. It can be fatal unless diagnosed and treated early.

Vaccination is an effective way to prevent meningitis.

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a public health alert on the disease earlier this year.

Most cases of the disease in Nigeria are reported in what has been called the "meningitis belt", which covers the 19 states in the northern region.

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