Tanzania beefs up surveillance as Ebola cases rise in DR Congo

DAR ES SALAAM– Tanzanian authorities said on Wednesday they were beefing up surveillance in the country’s borders following a surge in cases of the deadly disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“We have trained 350 health officers on surveillance measures against the disease, especially in regions bordering with neighboring countries,” Ummy Mwalimu, the Minister for Health, said in an interview with Xinhua.

Mwalimu was reacting to a marked increase of death toll from the Ebola epidemic in DRC in recent days. She said 350 health workers have been dispatched in border regions of Kagera, Katavi, Rukwa, Songwe, Kigoma, Mbeya, Mwanza and Dar es Salaam.

Mwalimu said the ministry has reinforced tests for the deadly disease in the national laboratory, the southern highlands zone laboratory and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center laboratory.

She added that the government has bought 106 handheld and walk-through thermal scanners and distributed them to 31 border points in 14 regions and three international airports in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Kilimanjaro.

“At the same time we are raising awareness to members of the public through various means, including the media and posters,” added Mwalimu.

According to the United Nations, the current Ebola outbreak in the DRC is the most serious in the country’s history.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain or malaise and in many cases internal and external bleeding.  

Xinhua

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