The cluster of illnesses and deaths due to an unknown etiology may not be unknown anymore as the Minister of Health in the Republic of Liberia, Dr Bernice Dahn said seven specimens from the deceased tested positive for Neisseria meningitidis, the agent of meningococcal meningitis, according to a Reuters report today.

Liberia map/CIA
Liberia map/CIA

The outbreak that began after a funeral service for a religious leader in Sinoe County on Apr. 22, has sickened at least 31, including 132 fatalities.

According to officials from Liberia and the World Health Organization (WHO), patients suffered abdominal pain, vomiting, weakness, headache, mental confusion and some who recovered developed petechiae, spots that appear on the skin due to bleeding.

Senior Press Officer Sharon Hoskins wrote in a statement to HuffPost that the CDC is sending two meningitis laboratory scientists and one meningitis senior epidemiologist to Liberia this week to join the staff from the CDC Country Office in Liberia in the investigation.

While this new outbreak update is featured in a number of media outlets, neither the Liberia Ministry of Health nor the National Public Health Institute Liberia mention this breaking information on their websites as of this evening.

Even the largest newspaper in Monrovia, the Liberian Observer, in an article dated May 8 writes “Evidence suggests a mysterious illness that has killed 12 people in Liberia is linked to food or drink poisoning”.