A health official has confirmed that an outbreak of malaria in northern Nigeria's Katsina state has claimed the lives of 401 people in the last four weeks.
"In the last 28 days 401 people have died of malaria which has become hyper-endemic in the state," Halliru Idris, director of public health in the state's health ministry, told AFP.
Advertisement"The toll may be higher because it only includes those who died in hospitals, excluding those who might have died at home," Idris said.
He said 50,311 malaria cases were recorded in the state of 4.5 million people over the past four weeks, which he attributed to the high rainfall recorded this rainy season, which saw more mosquitoes breed than usual.
The government has deployed health workers to the worst affected districts to fumigate mosquito breeding areas such as open sewers and ponds as well to distribute mosquito bed nets.
Malaria is the most lethal disease in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) accounts for a quarter of all malaria cases in Africa.
World Bank chief Robert Zoellick last month said Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), are Africa's hardest-hit, accounting for between 30 and 40 percent of deaths from malaria on the continent.