Not less than 21 people have been killed by meningitis epidemic in Sokoto State in northern Nigeria. The State Health Commissioner, Dr Balarabe Kakale, confirmed the outbreak and the deaths on Sunday and stressed that the northwest state was in distress. He said the disease was first noticed on March 20. Dr Kakale said the deaths were recorded in the seven local governments of Kebbe, Bodinga, Rabah, Wamakko, Gada, Dange/Shuni and Tureta.“The state government has since Monday deployed no fewer than 15 medical teams, comprising over 150 medical personnel. “They were deployed across the 23 local governments of the state, fully equipped with ambulances and provided with free drugs, as well as medicament,” said the health commissioner. He explained that the emergency response teams were conducting house to house searches and management, both at home and the hospitals. Meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges. The inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.