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Health officials in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, have urged Nigerians not to panic following the detection of the first case of the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, in the country. A nine-year old American girl in Lagos tested positive for swine flu infection.
A wave of panic swept across the country over fears a swine flu pandemic may be in the offing in Nigeria. But Health Minister Babatunde Osotimehin moved quickly to assure Nigerians there are no other reported cases so far and that the government would ensure adequate protection.
"Diagnostic facilities have been put in place so we can in-country diagnose the flu," said Osotimehin. "We also ensured that our epidemiologists at the level of the states have been trained to recognize, and commissioners have been sensitized to ensure that if they see cases within their states they will be able to recognize and deal with them effectively. They have drugs we have distributed to the states."
The health minister said the girl, who had swine flu, had recovered after five days of treatment at a Lagos hospital.
Nigeria placed its ports on high alert in the wake of the outbreak of swine flu in many countries earlier this year.
Swine flu is a highly contagious disease which has flu-like symptoms such as fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people have also reported running noses, sore throats, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The World Health Organization says more than 5,700 people have died worldwide since the virus was first discovered in April.