Benin responds to illness spread by tiny rat

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Medical staff discuss a patient in the Lassa Fever Ward at Kenema Government Hospital, Sierra Leone. Lassa fever is a rodent-borne, acute viral haemorrhagic illness endemic to parts of West Africa. Photo: UNICEF/Tanya Bindra

Authorities in Benin are responding to what they are calling an “epidemic” of a severe illness that causes bleeding.

Lassa Fever is transmitted through contact with food or other items contaminated with the faeces or urine of a tiny rodent species known as the multimammate rat.

So far, there have been 25 suspected cases, with 12 deaths, four of which have been confirmed.

The haemorrhagic illness is endemic in Benin, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Cristina Silveiro has been speaking to Dr Pierre Mepele-Kilebou, WHO representative in the country.

Duration: 3’58″