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Kenya on high alert over unnamed epidemic in Tanzania

Kenya is on high alert over the outbreak of an unnamed epidemic in the neighboring country, Tanzania.

In an internal memo through the Ministry of Health Port service at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), officials were asked to ensure the enhanced screening of travelers arriving from the country.

“This is to notify you that the health authorities in the Tanzania on March 17, 2023, issued an alert and declared an outbreak of an unnamed epidemic disease considered to be contagious. Currently, seven infections have been reported with five deaths,” the memo read in part.

The memo signed by Mr Benjamin Murkomen, the Port Health Officer, revealed that the symptoms of the disease include; fever, vomiting, bleeding from different parts of the body, and liver failure.

On Tuesday, March 21, Tanzania declared a Marburg virus outbreak.

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Ummy Mwalimu, the Tanzania health minister, said that three patients were hospitalised and 161 others had been put under monitoring.

Initial media reports said the initial illnesses were reported from two villages in Bukoba Rural District in the country’s northwestern part.

Like Ebola, the Marburg virus spreads through contact with the body fluids of infected people. It has a case-fatality rate as high as 88 percent, and no approved vaccines or specific treatments exist.

A region and council-level response team has been sent to probe the disease and ensure it does not spread further.

Social media posts in Tanzania noted the symptoms were like those for Ebola, a deadly virus that causes high fevers, severe bleeding, and organ failure.

Kagera borders Tanzania’s northern neighbor Uganda, which had an outbreak of the rare Sudan strain of Ebola from September last year to January that was blamed for 77 deaths.

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