ABUJA, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Nigerian health authorities on Tuesday confirmed three more deaths from Lassa fever, a disease endemic in several west African countries.
The deaths were recorded from Ekiti, a state in the southwestern region of Nigeria, local officials said.
Ekiti Commissioner for Health Rotimi Ojo said five new cases were being investigated, adding there was still no cause for alarm in the state as the government was taking proactive steps in its surveillance activities.
One week ago, the Nigerian government summoned an emergency meeting in Abuja to discuss measures to tackle Lassa fever outbreak.
A total of 113 Lassa fever deaths have been confirmed by Nigerian authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) since the beginning of the year.
The acute viral hemorrhagic fever has been reported in at least 18 states since the first case was detected on Jan. 1.
Last week, Health Minister Isaac Adewole said Nigeria will check the spread of Lassa fever across the country with a vaccine.
Humans usually become infected with the Lassa virus from exposure to urine or feces of infected mastomys rats. Other than common preventive measures such as washing hands regularly, the WHO has also recommended keeping cats.
West African countries Ghana, Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone also reported cases of Lassa fever in the past month.