The death toll from a Lassa fever outbreak in northern Nigeria has risen to 41, the health ministry has said.
Nigeria’s minister for health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Tuesday said that more than 258 cases of the infectious disease had been recorded in 19 out of the 36 states.
As of Tuesday "258 confirmed cases and 41 deaths have been reported in 19 states, with a majority of the cases from Ebonyi, Edo and Ondo states," Dr Ehanire told journalists.
The minister announced that new measures had been rolled out to contain the spread of the haemorrhagic fever.
“It is important for health workers to maintain a high index of suspicion and practice universal health precautions to protect themselves from infections by using surgical masks, gloves, laboratory coats and aprons," the minister advised.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has also activated emergency operations centres in Ebonyi, Enugu, Kano, Borno and Ondo states to coordinate responses to the outbreak.
The Ebola-like disease is endemic in Nigeria due to tropical climate and the abundance of the disease vectors.
It is caused by rats and transmitted through direct contact to urine or faeces of the infected animal.
Meanwhile, the government has also established a “Corona Virus Preparedness Group” following an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in China.