Mystery disease kills five people in Tanzania: Experts dispatched to investigate ‘strange’ illness that causes headaches and nosebleeds before death
- Health chiefs dispatched doctors to diagnose disease in northern Kagera region
- At least five people killed while seven others infected with the ‘strange’ disease
A mysterious disease that causes headaches and a fever has killed at least five people in Tanzania.
Health chiefs in the East African nation, which is just south of Kenya, have described the illness as ‘strange’.
Authorities have dispatched a team of doctors to diagnose the illness, with seven cases reported in the northwest region of Kagera.
Symptoms of the illness include a fever, headaches, fatigue and nosebleeds, the government’s chief medical officer Tumaini Nagu told the BBC.
‘The government formed a regional team of professionals under the Rapid Response Team who are investigating this unknown disease,’ Nagu said.
Authorities have now been dispatched a team of doctors to diagnose the illness, with seven cases reported in the northwest region of Kagera
Nagu said residents in the Kagera region must avoid contact with infected people and stay calm.
In July last year, three people with similar symptoms died following an outbreak in Tanzania’s southern region of Lindi. More than 20 cases were reported at the time.
Investigations later identified the disease as leptospirosis, also known as Weil’s disease.
Weil’s disease is a rare infection spread by the urine of animals including rats, mice, cows, pigs and dogs.
Symptoms include fever, headache, feeling and being sick, aching muscles and joints, red eyes, and a loss of appetite.
Serious cases of the infection can 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 between a few days and a few weeks to clear up.
But without treatment, the infection could take months to recover from, and could cause life-threatening kidney and liver failure.
Although 90 per cent of cases are mild, between five and 15 per cent progress to a severe form which can cause organ failure and even death. Between one and five per cent of cases are fatal.