ABUJA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Fresh cases of Ebola infection have been recorded in Nigeria, where the highly contagious disease has already claimed five lives, Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu said on Friday.
The Nigerian official said the new cases of Ebola are spouses of health workers who had primary contacts with the index case, Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American, who spread the virus to Africa's most populous country.
The new cases are the first secondary contacts to test positive to the Ebola virus in Nigeria, noted Chukwu, who spoke to reporters in Abuja, capital of the West African country.
"The secondary contacts had been under surveillance since the outbreak of the disease in Nigeria," he added.
On Wednesday, the official said Nigeria had been able to control the spread of the Ebola virus, confirming that only two people were living with the virus in the country.
Earlier this month, Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan declared a national emergency, saying a sum of 1.9 billion naira (11.6 million U.S. dollars) would be released to prevent further spread of the epidemic.
Ebola spreads through body fluids and has killed over 1,300 people in West African countries.