MONROVIA, April 28 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from a mysterious disease in Liberia's southeastern county of Sinoe has risen to 11, a senior health official of the west African country said on Friday.
Twenty cases of the strange illness have occurred since it began to ravage the county's capital of Greenville last Tuesday, Liberia's chief medical officer Francis Kateh told reporters.
Nine people were hospitalized following the spread of the disease in the country, he said, but as of Friday, only three were in critical conditions, three in stable condition and three others had been discharged.
Local sources said all the dead victims suffered severe stomach pain before succumbing to death.
Health authorities, in a move to stop the spread of the disease, isolated all those who had contact with the dead.
There have been speculations across Liberia that the symptoms of the illness were similar to that of Ebola, which ravaged the west African country in 2014.
Kateh countered the claims, saying the initial tests performed on the blood specimens of the deceased at the Liberian Institute of Biomedical Research had disproved that the victims died from the Ebola virus, even though they showed similar symptoms like vomiting and stomach pain, among others.
The official said more samples of blood specimens of the victims had been sent to the Center for Disease Control in the United States of America for testing.
In the meantime, an investigation is underway to ascertain the origin of the disease in Greenville, he added.
The Liberian government said it has already put in place the necessary mechanisms and measures to contain any outbreak of infectious diseases in the country.
About 4,500 people died in Liberia alone in 2014 when the Ebola outbreak ravaged some countries in west Africa.