Dar es Salaam. Tanzania has briefed ambassadors representing their countries to the East African nation on the Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) status, assuring them that the country is safe and there is no cause for concern.
Foreign Affairs Minister Stergomena Tax informed journalists here on Thursday that the government decided to brief the envoy on the disease because they’re essential links with the countries they represent.
“We wanted them to be aware of steps that the government has taken so far to contain the disease as well as understand what the situation currently looks like on the ground,” Dr Tax told reporters.
According to her, cases of the disease remain at eight, as reported earlier, with no additional fatality reported. Two of the three people remain hospitalised, and one has been discharged.
“The disease is currently under control,” Dr Tax assured the ambassadors. “We have procedures to prevent the disease from spreading, including requiring people arriving in Tanzania to undergo testing of the disease.”
“We also carry out an effective contact tracing,” she added.
According to her, ambassadors appreciated the government’s quick response to the disease, promising to continue working with local authorities to contain it.
Tax emphasised the need to get this information out, warning that if the issue is not well communicated, Tanzania’s economy could be in danger.
“You could find that people stop coming to Tanzania, something which will have adverse effects on business and the economy in general,” she pointed out.
On Wednesday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued a fresh advisory asking its citizens to avoid travelling to Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea, another African country that has reported the MVD, unless necessary.
It comes only two days after the Western Asian nation issued the warning following the outbreak of the Marburg Virus Disease in the two African countries.
Other countries that have advised their citizens against travelling to Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea include Saudi Arabia and Oman.
On March 21, 2023, Tanzania became the second African country after Equatorial Guinea to report the Marburg virus disease, whose symptoms included fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding through various body openings.
Cases of the disease have been reported from Kagera’s district of Bukoba, particularly in the villages of Bulinda and Butayaibega.
Eight cases of Marburg disease have been confirmed in Tanzania, which include the death of five people, four from the same family and one health worker.
As of March 21, three people are still under hospital care, two health workers and one member of the same family.
On March 29, 2023, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the organisation is teaming up with other partners to support the government of Tanzania to bridge any gaps in the response.
“As we said last week, the WHO is working to integrate research into the response, including trials of vaccines and therapeutics,” he said during a press conference in Geneva.
“A WHO committee has now reviewed the evidence for four vaccines. Trial protocols are ready, and our partners are ready to support the trials.”
“We look forward to working with the governments of both countries [Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania] to begin these trials as soon as possible – to help prevent cases and deaths now and in future Marburg outbreaks.”