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World Health Organization says Tanzania refuses information on suspected Ebola cases



Ebola Medical Officers in Beni, DRC in July 2019
Photo: Jerome Delay (AP) [19659004] In a statement Saturday, the World Health Organization (WHO) has accused the Tanzanian government of deliberately withholding information on suspected Ebola cases, according to the Washington Post. The allegation follows reports of multiple cases across the nation, starting in the capital Dars eu Salam, after which the WHO said it had been excluded from blood tests and notified by Tanzanian officials that the Ebola virus had been excluded.

According to the WHO, Tanzanian officials have not offered alternative diagnoses for the cases. However, he received "unofficial reports" that a 34-year-old doctor who returned from Uganda, who died on September 8 in Dar es Salaam, tested positive for Ebola while a second man tested negative. The status of the third possible case is unclear, the Post reports, and the WHO statement is the "sharpest rebuke to any government so far" in dealing with the ongoing outbreak that began in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo last year. [19659006] "… The clinical data, study results, possible contacts and potential laboratory tests performed for the differential diagnosis of these patients were not reported to the WHO," the agency wrote in the statement. "This information is needed by WHO to fully assess the potential risk posed by this event."

"The limited available official information from Tanzanian authorities is a challenge to assess the risk posed by this event," the WHO added.

As Post points out, Tanzania has never before reported cases of Ebola and its highly tourism-dependent economy could suffer if it is confirmed that the virus has spread there. The ongoing outbreak in the DRC, which began in August 2018, involves over 3,000 reported cases and has led to over 2,100 deaths, but is largely contained in two provinces and new, more advanced medicines are now being combated. However, WHO officials have "pursued potential cases in an epidemic that [have] has traveled to Dubai and China," according to the mail.

On September 14, according to Al Jazeera, Tanzania's Minister of Health Umi Mvalimu said the government was investigating two cases and found that "patients did not have Ebola. In Tanzania, there is no Ebola epidemic, people should not panic. "However, the network noted that Mvalimu has not clarified whether these two cases involve the deceased doctor.

WHO spokesman Tariq Yasarevic told Al Jazeera that the WHO is ready to help if the outbreak is confirmed in Tanzania and is "ready to facilitate the delivery of various supplies, including vaccines and therapists – this will happen at the request of the government Jasarevic added that the WHO is "still working" with pharmaceutical giant Merk and researchers to increase the availability of Ebola vaccines, Al Jazeera writes, but that there is "enough" to handle any incident in Tanzania.


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