–In Southeastern Liberian
Source: The Associated Press
A contagious bacterial infection is reported to be the cause of a mysterious outbreak in Liberia, U.S. health officials said Monday.
According to the report, the bacteria which could be responsible for some unexplained deaths, has been identified as Neisseria meningitis, a disease that cause brain infection, as well as blood infections.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tested samples from four of the deceased and found the bacteria, called Neisseria meningitis. The bacteria, which according to health officials, is to blame for a “meningitis belt” in sub-Saharan Africa.
The CDC disclosed the results Monday after sharing the latest results with Liberian health officials.
According to the U.S. agency, the bacteria live in the throat, and it is spread through kissing, living with or having other close contact with an infected person.
The CDC statement did not specify whether Liberians had developed meningitis, which infects the brain and spinal cord, or a blood infection.
Both can be fatal, and death can occur in only a few hours. The bacteria can cause the kind of mental confusion seen in patients in the Liberia outbreak.
Most of the cases were linked to an April 22 funeral in the coastal town of Greenville in Sinoe County.
Health officials in Liberia have reported 31 illnesses, including 13 deaths. Nearly all the victims of the unexplained death had attended a funeral in Sinoe County in southeastern Liberia, where the incident is said to have occurred.
Ebola was initially suspected but was ruled out.