Cotonou - The health ministry in Benin says nine people have died from Lassa fever, a viral disease common in West Africa with symptoms similar to Ebola.
An outbreak of Ebola is pummelling three West African countries and some cases have turned up elsewhere. But Benin's health minister, Dorothee Kinde Gazard, told reporters late on Tuesday that tests so far have come back negative for Ebola.
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The deaths happened in Tanguieta, 600km north of the capital. In all, 15 cases of Lassa have been detected.
In West Africa, there are about 100 000 to 300 000 cases of Lassa fever each year and about 5 000 deaths.
The Lassa virus is carried by rodents and is transmitted to humans through contact with their urine or droppings.