Liberia's mysterious disease likely to be meningitis: official
The mysterious disease plagued Liberia's southeastern county of Sinoe in the past two weeks appears to be meningitis, a Liberian health official has said.
Health Minister Bernice Dahn told reporters here on Monday that laboratory tests carried out on victims' blood specimens had proven that the West African country was "dealing with a probable outbreak of meningitis."
The disease that originated from Greenville, the capital of Sinoe county, has spread to other parts of the nation during the past two weeks. A total of 31 cases, including 13 deaths, have been reported so far.
"We are taking public health measures so that it will not further spread," said the minster, adding that an investigation is underway to clarify all doubts on the outbreak.
Liberia has never been hit by meningitis, since the disease usually emerges in countries with hot climate and long-term dry seasons, particularly in sub-Sahara Africa, according to Dahn.
She also warned that the disease, though treatable and preventable, can be spread via saliva and close body contacts with the infected. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, headache and neck stiffness. Early symptoms also include altered consciousness and vomiting.