Africa-Press – Tanzania. HEALTH experts have allayed public fears on bacterial disease- ‘Leptospirosis’ revealed in Lindi Region, stressing that the illness is preventable and curable.
Ministry of Health said on Monday that, the mysterious ‘nosebleed’ disease reported in the region is ‘Leptospirosis’ which is transmitted from animals to humans.
Report on the mysterious disease in Ruangwa District was revealed on July 7th this year in which, people who contracted it had symptoms such as a fever, headaches, fatigue and nose bleeding.
Internal Medicine Specialist with the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), Dr Elisha Osati, told ‘Daily News ‘ yesterday that since the experts have already established the causes of the disease, it is important for people to continue taking precautions and report the symptoms to the hospital for treatment.
“People should remain calm and continue taking precautions, because the disease is preventable and curable …it is caused by bacteria whose treatment is known,” he said.
He noted that, the bacteria Leptospira which causes the disease is not new because it was reported in past centuries since 1886 and has been emerging in different countries.
“Various studies also indicate that the bacteria was once reported in the northern parts of the country especially in pastoral communities,” Dr Osati said.
He named some of the countries in which ‘Leptospirosis’ was reported as Brazil and Nicaragua in South America, Australia and France.
Dr Osati further explained that, that although studies indicated presence of the bacteria in the some parts of the country but there were no outbreak reported because people may have been exposed to the disease for a long time thus developing immune against the illness.
“This suggest that for Lindi Region the disease is being reported for the first time thus why it has caused severe symptoms as reported,” he said.
He said people can become infected through contact with urine from infected animals or with water, soil, contaminated with the urine.
“The bacteria can enter the body through injured skin or touching mucous membranes such as eyes, nose, or mouth,” he said.
Dr Osati noted that, person to person transmission is rare.
Epidemiology and Disease Control Assistant Director in the Ministry of Health Dr Azma Simba said that said that people should avoid coming into contact with water contaminated with animal urine and drink clean and safe water.
“I would like to allay public fear because this disease is preventable and curable, citizens should take precautionary measures such as avoiding coming into contact with water contaminated by animal urine drink clean and safe water and report symptoms to the health facilities for treatment,” she said.
Dr Simba stressed that people with symptoms such as fever, headache, and nosebleed should go to the hospital for treatment.
In her public statement, the Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu emphasised that people should drink clean and safe water which has either been boiled or treated.
Ms Mwalimu asked people with symptoms like fever, bleeding, headache and tiredness to go to health centres to get treatment.
She urged the members of the public to provide information about patients with such symptoms, noting: “It’s fortunate that this disease can be prevented and it is cured.”
Affected people may start showing symptoms between 5th and 14th day, but sometimes from 2nd day to 30th day.
Such illness has also been reported in tropical areas with high temperatures such as in North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia.
In Tanzania the disease is not new since it was previously reported in 2014 in Buhigwe District in Kigoma Region.
Ms Mwalimu said her ministry and other stakeholders have continued taking several steps to control the situation, including identifying other people with similar symptoms to give them treatment.
According to the minister, a total of 20 cases and three deaths had been reported by last Sunday.