LAGOS, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Nigerian government on Sunday confirmed nine more cases of Lassa fever in the country after it killed four people in the central state of Kogi.
State epidemiologist Austin Ojotule told reporters in Lokoja, capital of the state, that the fresh cases of Lassa fever, a disease carried by rodents, broke out in the state about a month ago.
Ojotule said the state's statistics showed that there were a total of 31 suspected cases and 177 contacts in the state as of Saturday.
The death toll from the latest round of Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria has risen to 47 so far, with 365 confirmed cases as the acute viral hemorrhagic fever continued to spread in the most populous African country, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday.
At least 23 states have now been affected by the Lassa fever outbreak, with most cases recorded in the southern states of Ebonyi, Edo, and Ondo, the NCDC said.
Lassa fever is reportedly transmitted when saliva, urine and excreta of rats come into contact with humans. In some cases, Lassa fever has similar symptoms as malaria.
The latest outbreak is said to be the worst in Nigeria in the past years. It erupted in November and the first case was reported in the northeastern state of Bauchi.
In 2012, Lassa fever killed more than 40 people in 12 states across Nigeria.