Tanzania takes measures to curb outbreak of Marburg viral disease

DAR ES SALAAM, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Two days after confirmation of the outbreak of Marburg viral disease (MVD) in northwestern Tanzania, health authorities on Thursday issued a travel advisory regarding the Kagera region where the disease has killed five people and three others are undergoing treatment.

On Thursday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Seif Shekalaghe said in a statement that all travelers to and from the Kagera region should have their body temperatures examined.

"Those found with feverish conditions should be sent to designated treatment centers for more tests," read the statement.

The statement said all persons on the contact tracing list should be monitored regularly and prevented from leaving their places of isolation. It also said that all international travelers should observe infection prevention and control measures such as hand hygiene, keeping physical distance, and reporting any signs or symptoms of the MVD to health authorities.

All travelers should adhere to points of entry, exit and domestic screening measures being implemented in the country, the statement stressed.

On March 21, the Minister of Health Ummy Mwalimu confirmed the outbreak of the MVD after laboratory tests were conducted following reports that a strange disease has killed five people in two wards in the Bukoba Rural district in the Kagera region.

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.

The World Health Organization (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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