Mysterious disease kills five people in Tanzania: Experts sent to investigate ‘strange’ disease causing headaches and nosebleeds before death
- Health chiefs sent doctors to diagnose the disease in the northern Kagera region
- At least five people died while seven others became infected with the ‘strange’ disease
A mysterious illness that causes headaches and fever has killed at least five people in Tanzania.
Health chiefs in the East African country, which lies just south of Kenya, have described the disease as “strange”.
Authorities have sent a team of doctors to diagnose the disease, with seven cases reported in the northwestern region of Kagera.
Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, fatigue and nosebleeds, Tumaini Nagu, the government’s chief medical officer, told the BBC.
“The government has formed a regional team of professionals under the Rapid Response Team who are investigating this unknown disease,” Nagu said.
Authorities have now sent a team of doctors to diagnose the disease, with seven cases reported in the northwestern region of Kagera
Nagu said residents of the Kagera region should avoid contact with infected people and remain calm.
In July last year, three people with similar symptoms died after an outbreak in Tanzania’s southern Lindi region. More than 20 cases were reported at the time.
Research later identified the disease as leptospirosis, also known as Weil’s disease.
Weil’s disease is a rare infection spread through the urine of animals, including rats, mice, cows, pigs and dogs.
Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle and joint pain, red eyes and loss of appetite.
Severe cases of infection may cause yellow skin and eyes, swollen ankles, feet or hands, chest pain, shortness of breath or coughing up blood.
The disease can be treated with antibiotics and may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to go away.
But without treatment, the infection can take months to recover and can lead to life-threatening kidney and liver failure.
While 90 percent of cases are mild, between five and 15 percent progress to a severe form that can cause organ failure and even death. Between one and five percent of cases are fatal.