A meningitis outbreak has killed at least 1,900 people in three west African countries over the past four months, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Wednesday.
"More than 1,900 people infected by meningitis have died since the start of the year in Nigeria, Niger and Chad," said MSF citing combined statistics from the countries' health authorities.
AdvertisementOf the 1,900 fatal cases recorded, 1,500 were in Nigeria alone, some 300 in neighbouring Niger and the remainder in Chad.
In Nigeria, where more than 50,000 cases have been reported, this is the worst meningitis outbreak since 1996 when a triple epidemic of measles, cholera and meningitis killed more than 12,000 people, MSF said in a statement.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the central nervous system.
While some forms are mild, meningitis is a potentially serious condition owing to the proximity of the inflammation to the brain and spinal cord and can lead to death if untreated.