Cape Town – An unknown disease that has killed 13 people and infected 18 others in the West African nation of Liberia in less than three weeks is believed to be meningitis C, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday.

The outbreak began when an 11-year-old child was admitted to hospital with diarrhoea, vomiting and mental confusion on April 23, a day after attending a funeral in south-eastern Sinoe County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States found that blood, urine and plasma samples from four patients tested positive for meningitis C, dpa cited the WHO.

The investigation was however still ongoing since the detected bacteria could also be responsible for other illnesses, the WHO said.

Meningitis C is a serious bacterial infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and can cause severe brain damage. It is fatal in 50 per cent of cases if untreated.

West and East African nations are affected by recurring meningitis epidemics, the WHO said.

Initial tests had shown that the disease is not Ebola.(QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency

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