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Johannesburg – The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed 37 deaths from Lassa fever in Nigeria, while another six are suspected to have succumbed to the illness too.

In a Tuesday statement the WHO also confirmed that a further 450 people had been infected with the haemorrhagic fever in less than five weeks.

Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO Representative to the West African nation said that the deaths represented an unusually high number of cases for this time of year.

The virus causes a fever and body aches that can progress to bleeding from the nose or mouth and is spread through contact with the bodily fluids of sick people or from eating food contaminated by the urine or human waste of rodents.

Last week the Guinea authorities reported one death from Lassa fever raising fears that the death toll from another haemorrhagic fever could rise, following the death of more than 11 000 people from Ebola in 2013, as a further two dozen were monitored.

There is no vaccine for the disease.

African News Agency/ANA