Tanzania’s outbreak of Marburg viral disease is under control: minister

WHO warned that the high population mobility within the region poses a risk of cross-border spread.

Tanzanian health authorities said late Saturday an outbreak of Marburg viral disease (MVD) that has killed five people in northwestern of the country was under control.

The disease that broke out last week in two wards of Bukoba district in Kagera region also left three other people admitted to hospital for treatment.

“People in Bukoba district, people in Kagera region and all Tanzanians in general should not panic. The MVD is under control,” Ummy Mwalimu, the Minister for Health, told a news conference in Bukoba municipality.

Mwalimu said she visited Bukoba district accompanied by high-ranking officials with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) and they were satisfied that the disease was under control after the government in collaboration with WHO had taken response measures.

She said there were 205 people who were on contact tracing list that have been put under isolation.

“It doesn’t mean that these people are suffering from MVD but they are being observed for a period of time before they are released,” said Mwalimu.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health issued a travel advisory to all travelers to and from the Kagera region saying their body temperatures should be examined.

Kagera region where the MVD was reported is located in northwestern Tanzania and is bordered by Uganda to the north, Rwanda to the west and Burundi to the southwest.

WHO warned that the high population mobility within the region poses a risk of cross-border spread.

According to the WHO, the MVD is a highly fatal, zoonotic hemorrhagic disease caused by the Marburg virus, and human-to-human transmission occurs through direct contact with body fluids from infected persons, or contact with equipment and other materials contaminated with infectious blood or tissues, body fluids of infected people, and contaminated surfaces or materials.


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