The virus is initially transmitted to humans from fruit bats / Photo: AP

Tanzania is free from the deadly Marburg Virus Disease (MVD), a government statement said, adding that the country is now safe to visit.

The statement by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism on Monday comes after the country announced last month of its first outbreak of the virus that killed five people in north-west Kagera region.

At least 161 people were identified as at the risk of infection, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“We want to reassure our visitors that Tanzania remains a safe and welcoming destination. We are doing everything we can to ensure our visitors enjoy their travels with peace of mind, knowing that we are taking the necessary steps to protect their health and safety,” said Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Mohamed Mchengerwa in the statement.

Although no cases of the Marburg virus were found in any tourist site, the statement says that the local authorities have taken precautionary measures, and all surveillance programs will continue.

“As a responsible tourism industry our priority is the health and safety of our visitors and the local community and we are ensuring the adherence of the recommendation set by our partners and local authorities to stay up-to-date and implemented,” noted the Minister.

MVD, which is part of the same virus family as Ebola, causes a severe hemorrhagic fever and was first identified in 1967 in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany, and Belgrade, Serbia.

The fatality rate ranges from 24 percent to 88 percent, with the worst outbreak in Angola in 2004-2005 resulting in 252 cases and 227 deaths.

The virus is initially transmitted to humans from fruit bats and then spreads through body fluids or contaminated objects, with family members and healthcare workers being particularly vulnerable to infection.

Symptoms can include fever, nausea, rash, jaundice, and severe weight loss, with an incubation period of up to 21 days.

Tanzania is one the top tourist destinations in Africa contributing to its economic growth.

The outbreak came just as the sector was beginning to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

TRT Afrika