At least seven people have been killed by cholera in Tanzania’s southern highland region of Rukwa, authorities said on Tuesday.
Sumbawanga District Commissioner, Halfan Haule said 166 patients are being treated in different parts of the region.
Fresh cases of cholera were reported in Maenje, Milepa, Kapaenta, Mkusi, Tunko and Laela villages, Haule told a meeting of health experts on measures to strengthen surveillance against Ebola following an Ebola outbreak in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Haule attributed the cholera outbreak to drinking of unsafe water and non-use of toilets.
Rukwa Regional Medical Officer Boniface Kasululu said special centres have been established in the region to treat cholera patients.
Recently, Tanzania joined neighbouring Uganda in issuing an alert following the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, which has killed over 17 people.
Tanzanian health minister Ummy Mwalimu said the government has directed regional medical officers across the country to strengthen surveillance to prevent an Ebola outbreak in the country.
“The Tanzanian government has received an official report on the outbreak of the deadly Ebola in the DRC,’’ Mwalimu told a news conference in the capital, Dodoma.
She said Tanzania has, until now, not documented any case of Ebola, but the country is not immune from the viral disease due to the possibility of cross-border transmission from the affected countries.
The DRC, with this reappearance of the Ebola cases, is at its ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976.
The last outbreak took place in May 2017 in the northern province of Bas-Uele, killing four people.
The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalised pain or malaise, and in many cases, internal and external bleeding.
According to the World Health Organisation, mortality rates of Ebola fever are extremely high with the human case-fatality rate ranging from 50 per cent to 89 per cent, depending on viral sub-type.