Minna -- A total of 17 people have been confirmed dead due to measles outbreak in central Nigeria's Niger State, a health official said on Tuesday.
State Commissioner for Health Ibrahim Sule confirmed the figure to reporters in Minna, the state capital, saying about 620 cases of the outbreak had been recorded in the state since January.
Owing to the increase in heat across the state, more deaths were recorded, causing a rise in the initial death toll of six people announced last week, he said.
According to Sule, the outbreak was first recorded two months ago in Edati area of the state, but the disease has now spread to 14 other local areas, including Bosso, Borgu, Chanchanga, Lapai, Mariga, Mokwa, Agwara, Gbako, Lavun, Munya, Shiroro, Rijau, Paikoro and Suleja.
The health ministry in Niger State had already embarked on aggressive awareness and sensitization at the grassroots level, while the state would collaborate with development partners for free treatment of the affected, he added.
He said the ministry had also started surveillance on the outbreak to curb its spread among people.
He described measles as a highly contagious infection caused by virus that could affect all age groups. It can be contacted through sneezing and coughing, he noted, saying the disease could be prevented through immunization.