Authorities say Tanzania has asked medical experts to investigate a mysterious “contagious” disease that has killed five people in the country.
The disease was found in “seven people with symptoms including fever, vomiting, bleeding, and kidney failure,” the health ministry said in a statement late Thursday.
Medical experts have been dispatched to the Kagera district (northwest) on the border with Uganda to investigate. The disease is “communicable,” health official Tumaini Nagu said.
“Samples were taken from the sick and dead to determine the source and nature of the disease,” the statement said, urging residents to remain calm.
This case comes after an outbreak of the Ebola virus in Uganda that lasted nearly four months and left 55 dead. Uganda declared the end of the outbreak in January, and last year Tanzania detected an outbreak of leptospirosis, or “rat disease,” that killed three people in the south-eastern Lindi region.
This bacterial disease, transmitted to humans from some mammals, is transmitted through water or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals.
Outbreaks of disease, which are not new in Tanzania. A disease with symptoms such as nosebleeds, fever, headache and fatigue was discovered in the Lindi district last July.
In response, the government’s top doctor, Aifello Sichalwe, assembled a team of professionals and urged the population to remain calm.
Sichalwe added that the patients tested negative for Ebola, the Marburg virus, and the Covid-19 virus. One of them recovered while the others were isolated. A total of 13 patient cases were identified at the time, three of whom died.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said at a religious meeting that the “strange” disease found in Lindi could be caused by “increased interactions” between humans and animals due to environmental degradation.