ABUJA, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- A Nigerian doctor who had treated Ebola died recently in the country's oild hub of Port Harcourt, bringing the death toll to six in the country, Nigeria's health authorities said Thursday.
The doctor, whose name was not disclosed, had died since Aug. 22 in Port Harcourt, capital of oil-rich Rivers State, but the news of his death has just reached the authorities, according to Nigeria's Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu.
Chukwu told reporters that government would do its best to contain the disease, noting this is the first time an Ebola death would be confirmed outside Lagos since Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer introduced the virus to Nigeria last month.
Chukwu told reporters in the Nigerian capital Abuja that the deceased doctor contracted the disease after treating a patient who came in contact with index case Patrick Sawyer.
He said the primary contact of Sawyer had evaded government's surveillance team in July and traveled out of Lagos to Port Harcourt, where he consulted with the deceased doctor.
"The case had been thoroughly investigated and laboratory analysis showed that this doctor died from EVD (Ebola Virus Disease)," said the official.
Consequently, 70 other contacts have now been traced, registered and placed under surveillance, the minister explained, noting because the doctor's wife is now symptomatic, she has been quarantined pending the outcome of laboratory tests on her.
Following the doctor's death, six Ebola fatalities have so far been recorded in Nigeria. The other five casualties, including the index case, had died in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial hub.
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 1,500 people in Africa.