Meningitis C kills 282 in Nigeria amid vaccine shortage

Associated Press

Warri, Nigeria — A Nigerian official says a meningitis strain new to the West African nation has killed 282 people and infected nearly 2,000 amid a shortage of vaccines.

Chikwe Ihekweazu is in charge of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control. He says efforts to curb the meningitis C outbreak are hampered by a worldwide shortage of vaccine.

He told journalists Thursday that the World Health Organization has delivered 500,000 doses of vaccine but estimates 3 million are needed just in Zamfara, the worst-hit of 15 states in north and central Nigeria.

Ihekweazu says most victims are children aged 5 to 14.

The strain inflames the spinal cord and brain.

A meningitis epidemic killed 1,100 people and infected more than 10,000 in Nigeria and neighboring Niger in 2015.