Ebola: WHO raises alarm, says Tanzania not sharing information on suspected outbreak

The World Health Organization over the weekend accused Tanzania of failing to provide information on suspected cases of Ebola in the country, potentially hindering efforts to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

East African countries have been on red alert following the outbreak of the dreaded in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has killed about 2,103 people.

Four people also died from the disease in Uganda.

The WHO said it had learned on September 10 of a suspected case of the disease in Tanzania’s port city of Dar es Salaam, and information emerged that this patient’s contacts had been quarantined, and that the person had tested positive for Ebola.

Two other suspected cases were also unofficially reported.

But in a statement on Saturday, WHO said it is yet to receive details of the outbreak despite repeated to Tanzania authorities.

The statement read, “Despite several requests, WHO did not receive further details of any of these cases from Tanzanian authorities.”

On September 14 Tanzanian authorities officially reported there was no Ebola in the country, but declined “secondary confirmation testing” at a WHO centre, the global body said.

Then on Thursday, the WHO was made aware that a contact of the initial patient was sick and in hospital.

“To date, the clinical details and the results of the investigation, including laboratory tests performed for differential diagnosis of these patients, have not been shared with WHO.”

”The lack of information received by WHO meant it cannot determine the cause of the illness”.

“The limited available official information from Tanzanian authorities represents a challenge for assessing the risk posed by this event.”

The WHO determined that because the initial patient travelled widely in the country and due to uncertainty around the cases, the lack of information and the fact that, if confirmed, it would be the first-ever outbreak of Ebola in the country, “the risk was assessed as very high at national level”.

“At this stage, WHO is not aware of signs of a widespread transmission of any illness related to these cases, however investigations, including with the support of WHO Collaborating Centres, should continue to reach a diagnosis and further inform the risk assessment,” said the statement.

They also warned of a high risk for the region.

The ongoing Ebola outbreak is the second-worst in history after more than 11,000 people died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014 and 2016.

With agency report

Leave a Reply