State-of-the-art Ebola screening facility has been installed at Tanzania’s leading airport following an outbreak of the disease in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that has killed over 20 patients, an official said on Saturday.
Faustine Ndugulile, the Deputy Minister for Health, inspected the facility and directed relevant authorities that all passengers arriving through the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam must be screened. Ndugulile added that the east African country has created a special center at the airport for treating patients diagnosed with the deadly disease. “We are doing all we can to ensure that the disease does not enter into the country,” said the minister, adding: “Nobody has been diagnosed with Ebola in the country until now.” He said measures have also been put in place to ensure that there was enhanced screening in other entry points, including airports and ports, around the country.
On Wednesday, Ndugulile allayed fears of an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, saying no person has been diagnosed with the disease in the east African nation. Ndugulile said people should not panic following unconfirmed reports of the outbreak of the disease in the country, the second largest economy in the east African region. The minister was forced to allay the fears after the World Health Organization (WHO) recently confirmed that at least 27 people died from Ebola in DRC. “There is no suspected case of Ebola or Ebola-like symptoms that have been detected in the country, and people should not panic,” Ndugulile told a news conference in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam. Last week, Tanzania joined neighboring Uganda and Kenya on issuing an alert. Ummy Mwalimu, the Minister for Health, said the government has directed regional medical officers across the country to strengthen surveillance in an effort to prevent the Ebola outbreak in the country.
With this reappearance of the Ebola outbreak, the DRC is at its ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976. The last outbreak recorded by the country took place in May 2017 in the northern province of Bas-Uele which killed four people. he 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. Mortality rates of Ebola fever, according to WHO, are extremely high, with the human case-fatality rate ranging from 50 percent to 89 percent, depending on viral sub-type.