Tanzania confirms Marburg virus disease killed 5 people in Kagera

Wednesday March 22 2023
Tanzania’s Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu

Tanzania’s Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu who on March 21, 2023 said an illness that killed five and left three people in critical condition in Kagera region had been confirmed as Marburg virus disease. PHOTO | POOL


Tanzania has confirmed that a disease that killed five people and left three others in critical condition in the Kagera region is the Marburg haemorrhagic fever.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Tanzania’s Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said their public health laboratory results confirmed the disease and that health authorities have managed to control its spread.

Marburg virus

Marburg disease virus. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

"It has been five days since it was first reported and until March 21, eight cases have been reported within five days while three patients are currently undergoing supportive treatment,” Ms Mwalimu said.

The illness broke out late last week in the villages of Bulinda and Butayaibega located in Marua and Kanyangereko districts of Kagera region.

According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), Marburg virus disease is a rare but severe haemorrhagic fever that affects both people and non-human primates. 


A cousin of Ebola caused by a genetically unique zoonotic RNA virus of the filovirus family, Marburg symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, kidney failure and bleeding from various parts of the body including nosebleeds.

Read: Uganda to focus on its health systems post-Ebola

Ms Mwalimu insisted that Tanzanians should continue taking precautions including avoiding touching a patient's body fluids such as saliva, tears, blood, urine and faeces or from a person with these symptoms, and should immediately report any person with such symptoms.

Strict rules and screening are also being observed in neighbouring countries of Uganda and Kenya.

"You are reminded to enhance screening of travellers who are arriving from this region," read an internal memo from Kenya's Health ministry.