Tanzania’s health ministry on Tuesday confirmed that five people have died and three others being treated for the Ebola-like Marburg disease.
Health Minister, Ummy Mwalimu, said the cases were identified in the western region of Kagera, adding that the government managed to control its spread to other regions.
Like Ebola, the Marburg virus originates in bats and spreads between people via close contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, or surfaces, like contaminated bedsheets.
Without treatment, Marburg can be fatal in up to 88 per cent people.
Marburg outbreaks and individual cases have in the past been recorded in Angola, Congo, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Ghana, according to the World Health organisation (WHO).
Kenya and Uganda are on the high alert due to the recent cases in Tanzania.
WHO representative, Zabulon Yoti, who spoke during the Tanzania health ministry press briefing, praised the government for what he called its swift response and transparency.
The acting director of the African Union’s public health agency, Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, tweeted that Africa CDC would deploy immediately to strengthen response and limit the spread of the disease.
The rare virus was identified in 1967 after it caused simultaneous outbreaks of disease in laboratories in Marburg, Germany, and Belgrade Serbia.
Seven people who were exposed to the virus reportedly died while conducting a research on monkeys.