Kenya and Uganda have alerted citizens of a potential health risk after five people were killed in neighbouring Tanzania by the highly virulent Marburg virus, a deadly hemorrhagic fever with no known vaccine or treatment.
Uganda plans to send a risk assessment team to the Kasensero and Mutukula border points districts. The Ministry of Health in Uganda has announced that they will send a team to test and investigate people living along the border with Uganda and Tanzania and also conduct cross-border surveillance of the virus.
According to the Minister of Health, Tanzania had announced earlier in the week that 161 people who had contact with those infected have been identified and were being monitored for symptoms of the disease in the border region of Kagera in the country.
Uganda’s Director General of Health Services Henry Mwebesa told district officials that they have to carry out cross-border surveillance and ensure that the virus is contained.
Uganda has vast experience in battling the Marburg Virus Disease following an outbreak in the country in late 2017.
Kenya, too said it would carry out extensive screening of people travelling from Tanzania under guidelines issued by the Health Ministry.
In a tweet, the Kenyan Ministry of Health said health workers would keep a close watch on the Bukoba ferries and airports for potential carriers of the virus.
The World Health Organisation said it would support Tanzania by deploying an emergency team in Kagera to conduct further epidemiological investigations.
The emergency team will focus on active cases in the community and local healthcare facilities to identify more contacts and provide them with appropriate care.