ABUJA, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Nigerian authorities confirmed Friday that the death toll of the latest Lassa fever outbreak in the country has risen to 129.
The tally was collated from 21 states so far affected by the outbreak in the west African country since the beginning of the year.
As of April, a total of 121 deaths were recorded since the onset of the outbreak on Jan. 13.
A total of 578 cases were confirmed as of May 26, said Chikwe Ihekweazu, head of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), in a statement reaching Xinhua in Abuja.
On Jan. 22, Nigeria declared a fresh outbreak of the disease; 17 health workers in seven states were among victims of the outbreak.
Recent epidemiological data show that Lassa fever usually occurs in Nigeria during the dry season, between January and April.
Humans 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 World Health Organization has also recommended keeping cats.
In 2018, the NCDC reported at least 143 Lassa fever deaths across the country.