A doctor for the World Health Organization in Ivory Coast says 40 people have died from meningitis and more than 200 have been infected in rebel-held parts of the country.

Spokesman Aka Bian Tanoh blamed the outbreak on the lack of vaccines and trained medical workers, who have fled violence in the area after a failed coup attempt sparked at civil war in 2002.

He says a vaccination campaign is urgently needed in the northeastern region of Bouna, noting that immunizations have dropped sharply since last year.

Ivory Coast has been divided between the rebel-held north and government-controlled south since the end of violence in 2003.

Some information for this report provided by AP.