Marburg virus kills five people in Tanzania

The Tanzanian health ministry, says a mysterious disease that killed five people has been identified as Marburg virus.

The virus causes high fever, often accompanied by bleeding and organ failure.

Tanzania’s health minister, Ummy Mwalimu  has called on citizens to stay calm, saying the government has managed to control the spread of the virus.

Three people are being treated in hospital and authorities are tracing 161 contacts, Ms Mwalimu added.

Tanzania’s strategy to control the spread was praised by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO’s regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said: “The efforts by Tanzania’s health authorities to establish the cause of the disease is a clear indication of the determination to effectively respond to the outbreak.”

Dr Moeti said WHO is working with Tanzania’s government to “rapidly scale up control measures to halt the spread of the virus”.

The Marburg virus is a cousin of the equally deadly Ebola virus – part of the filovirus family – and it kills on average half of those infected, the WHO says.

It is a severe, often fatal illness with symptoms including headache, fever, muscle pains, vomiting blood and bleeding.

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