Death toll in Nigeria meningitis outbreak up to 489

April 12, 2017 GMT

WARRI, Nigeria (AP) — Health officials say Nigeria’s meningitis outbreak has killed at least 489 people as of Monday.

Health Minister Isaac Adewole says 4,637 meningitis cases have been confirmed. The federal government has kicked off a nationwide vaccination campaign for millions of people, though there is a worldwide shortage for the strain, which inflames the spinal cord and brain.

Zamfara state in the north is the worst hit with 216 deaths. Katsina, Kebbi, Niger and Sokoto states in northwest and north-central Nigeria also have seen cases since the disease surfaced in December.

Most of the victims have been children.

A meningitis epidemic killed 1,100 people and infected more than 10,000 in Nigeria and neighboring Niger in 2015. There are fears that this outbreak could again spread across the border.