KABUL, Afghanistan — An epidemic in western Afghanistan has killed 40 people in two weeks, and health officials believe that the disease could be either scurvy or a form of hemorrhagic fever.
Workers for the French nongovernmental organization Action Against Hunger learned of the illness when they arrived in the village of Tajwara in late February, Lorie Hieber Girardet of the World Health Organization said Friday.
Eighty people reportedly contracted the illness, and half have died, Girardet said.
There are several kinds of hemorrhagic fever with varying levels of seriousness ranging from mild illness to death. Ebola is one type.
Three people died of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever in Pakistan, Afghanistan's eastern neighbor, in late February.
The virus that causes Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is transmitted by ticks. Infected people can transmit the virus by blood, saliva or droplets from sneezing.