Chinese aid for lassa outbreak

Published: Thursday 30 November 2006

Indefinite wait at a Liberian< (Credit: IRIN)Following an emergency request from Liberian health authorities, the Chinese embassy in Liberia has contributed drugs to control an outbreak of the deadly lassa fever. The disease broke out in northern Liberia in September 2006, killing seven of 10 people diagnosed with it. Liberia's health ministry does not have any more recent information.

Liberian authorities say they are powerless to control the outbreak, because they lack drugs to treat the illness. A recent un human development report too notes that the country's ramshackle health infrastructure is not able to cope with infectious diseases; the country's 14-year civil war has destroyed 95 per cent of health facilities. Lassa is a viral haemorrhagic fever, known to be endemic in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and parts of Nigeria. A vaccine to fight against the lassa fever virus is still in the making.

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