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Lassa fever kills nine people in Benin

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Lassa fever rat

TVC E, NEWS – At least nine people have been suspected to have died of Lassa fever in Benin republic just as the world ramps up its fight against the Zika virus, a health official told AFP Tuesday.

“Right now, there are a total of 20 suspected cases with nine deaths,” government health official Orou Bagou Yorou Chabi said.

Sources disclosed that the first Lassa fever case in the West African country of 10 million people was listed at the Hospital of St Martin de Papane, in Tchaourou, a city 350 km north of Cotonou, the United Nations children agency UNICEF said in a statement.

UNICEF says the Lassa fever outbreaks has killed about 84 people in neighbouring Nigeria out of 168 suspected cases and Stocks of Ribavirin, a drug used to treat the infection, were being shipped to Tchaourou and Cotonou.

Benin was last hit by a Lassa fever outbreak in October 2014, when nine people suspected of having the virus died.

Lassa fever belongs to the same family as Marburg and Ebola, two deadly viruses that lead to infections with fever, vomiting and, in worse case scenarios, haemorrhagic bleeding.

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Its name is from the town of Lassa in northern Nigeria where it was first identified in 1969.

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