Tanzania: Country on High-Alert After Two Killed by Ebola-Like Illness

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Tanzania is on high-alert after two people died in Dar es Salaam from an illness likened to the Ebola virus.

The two bodies were interred by government health officials and buried “under heightened precautions”, according to The Citizen. This week, health authorities in the country warned people about various diseases prevalent in Tanzania, which come with similar symptoms to Ebola, but stressed that no cases of the Ebola virus have been diagnosed in the country.

 

Illnesses similar to Ebola

Health officials earlier this week highlighted dengue, yellow fever and Rift Valley Fever (RVF) as diseases that present similar symptoms as Ebola. The warning came after two people from separate parts of the country were both rushed to Muhimbili National Hospital with symptoms shared by each of the viruses.

The reports coincided with a recent outbreak of yellow fever in neighbouring Kenya, where two people died in the country’s capital, Nairobi. This follows an outbreak in Angola which has reportedly killed 60 people so far.

At the same time, health officials stressed that no cases of Ebola, Marburg or the Zika virus have been diagnosed in Tanzania. Preliminary tests suggest the two Dar es Salaam deaths are not linked to Ebola, however, the government has sent for confirmation tests in Kenya.

 

A cause for caution

African countries are making every effort to act quickly at the smallest possibility of an Ebola outbreak, following last year’s epidemic in Western Africa. Due to similar symptoms shared with a number of other viruses common in many African nations, it can be difficult to diagnose Ebola quickly enough to contain the virus.

It’s still not clear how an Ebola outbreak begins, but the rate of human-to-human transmissions seen last year caused a global health scare. The Ebola virus was estimated to kill almost 60% of people infected during the epidemic, far exceeding the case fatality rate (CFR) of many diseases that cause similar symptoms.

Last year’s outbreak was most active in Western Africa – most notably Guinea and the surrounding nations of Sierra Leone and Liberia. However, Senegal, Mali and Nigeria also suffered smaller outbreaks.

 

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