Cases of a mysterious “nosebleed disease” have been seen in southern Tanzania, already resulting in the death of at least three people.
Thirteen cases of an as yet unknown disease, including three fatalities, have been reported in the village Mbekenyera in the Lindi Region, according to Tanzania’s Ministry for Health. They say the patients presented with symptoms including fatigue, fever, headaches, and – most prominently – bleeding, especially from the nose.
Authorities stated they are contact tracing and keeping an eye out for people with similar symptoms, hoping to identify and isolate other potential cases. They are also launching a probe into the cause of the disease, but it currently remains unclear.
"Despite this, the ministry has called on the people to be calm while the work continues on this matter and the people should continue to use the health care centers when they feel sick," Tanzania’s Ministry for Health said in a statement.
It does, however, appear to bear some similarities to viral hemorrhagic fevers, a nasty group of viral diseases that involve life-threatening bleeding, aka hemorrhaging.
Examples of this type of disease include Ebola and the Marburg Virus Disease, a small outbreak of which has just been reported in Ghana for the first time. People infected with either disease will often experience bleeding from the nose, gums, eyes, ears, and bodily orifices, as well as a severe fever and extreme fatigue.
"We don't know what it is, all of our health scientists have moved there to check what it is," Samia Suluhu Hassan, the president of Tanzania, said during a public speech, BBC reports.
She also suggested the unknown disease may have some zoonotic origin, and was given the opportunity to jump from animal to human as a result of habitat destruction and anthropocentric activity encroaching on the natural world.
It's thought that Ebola may have previously been seen in Tanzania, although it's never been confirmed with evidence. In 2019, the World Health Organization criticized Tanzania for possibly failing to report Ebola cases, urging the country to up its game when it came to testing samples.
The country shares a border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has seen a handful of Ebola outbreaks in recent decades.