Tanzanian medical experts are investigating an unknown sickness that killed three people in the country’s southeast

A mysterious illness characterized by a fever, headaches, fatigue and nosebleeds has claimed three lives in southeastern Tanzania and left 10 more people ill, the country’s chief medical officer announced on Wednesday, adding that a team of doctors and health experts had been sent to investigate.

While the symptoms appear to resemble hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola and the Marburg virus, the patients all tested negative for both diseases, as well as for Covid-19, Tanzania’s chief medical officer, Aifello Sichalwe, confirmed. The official urged his countrymen to remain calm, explaining that a government-backed team of professionals was on the case.

Of the 13 reported cases of the mysterious disease diagnosed in the southeastern Lindi region, only one person has recovered. Three have died, and the remaining patients are being kept in isolation, Sichalwe explained.

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President Samia Suluhu Hassan stated on Tuesday that the “strange” disease might have been caused by “growing interaction” between humans and wild animals, blaming “environmental degradation” for the alleged cross-species leap. She did not elaborate on whether a particular type of animal might have been responsible or provide proof for the vague claim.

Two suspected cases of Marburg virus were reported in Ghana last week, stoking fears of another outbreak, as the disease is rarely found in West Africa. Marburg, a deadly hemorrhagic fever transmitted to humans by fruit bats and among humans through close contact and bodily fluids, kills as many as 88% of those it infects. However, Ghana is nearly 4,000 miles (6,400km) from Tanzania, making it extremely unlikely the two illness clusters are connected.

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