By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) - At least 31 people have died across Nigeria since the latest Lassa fever outbreak, according to a health official on Wednesday.
"The current death toll stands at 31. That is from January  to date," Health Ministry spokeswoman Boade Akinola told Anadolu Agency.
The outbreak has been reported from 15 regions of the country.
The ministry said on Tuesday the disease had been detected in the following states: Bauchi, Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, Ebonyi, Rivers, Imo, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Ondo, Osun, and Lagos states.
The viral hemorrhagic fever is named after a Nigerian village where the virus was first discovered in 1969. The source of the virus was traced to a particular rat type.
Symptoms may include fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, muscle pains and bleeding from the mouth or gastrointestinal tract.
The disease is usually spread through contact with the urine or feces of an infected multimammate rat or direct contact with an infected person.
Officials recommend citizens to pay more attention to cleanliness and avoid contact with mice and other rodents.
*Munira Abdelmenan Awel contributed to this story from Ankara.