Three deaths from a mysterious disease that causes nosebleeds in Burundi
- The disease swept through the landlocked country, killing 3 people in 3 days
- Health chiefs have reportedly ruled out mysterious illnesses like Ebola or Marburg
- All cases have been registered in Migoa, in Baziru District, northern Burundi
A mysterious disease that can cause nosebleeds has killed three people in Burundi.
All deaths occurred in the northeastern part of the African country – near the borders with Tanzania and Rwanda.
They were reported to have died within 24 hours of the onset of their symptoms.
Chiefs of Health have now been dispatched to Kirundo and Mwenga provinces to investigate the nature of the disease.
Details about what the actual disease is are scarce.
Three people have died of a mysterious disease that causes nosebleeds in Burundi. All cases in northeastern Burundi have been registered in Jitube Municipality in Kirundo Province and Butihinda Municipality in Muyinga Province.
While the symptoms of the mysterious disease mimic those of the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses, Burundi’s Ministry of Health has ruled out both diseases. The current Marburg virus outbreak in Equatorial Guinea is believed to be the fourth largest on record. Seven people have died there since mid-February, and officials have counted 29 confirmed and probable cases, up from 16 last week. In Tanzania – which borders Burundi – there were eight cases as of March 22, of which five were confirmed deaths
Local news website SOS Media Burundi reported that symptoms of the disease include abdominal pain, nosebleeds, headache, fever, vomiting and dizziness.
These symptoms mimic those of the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses.
The ministry said an 18-year-old student was hospitalized last week with symptoms including bloody vomiting, diarrhea and nosebleeds.
They added that he “died on the same day and his burial was held with dignity and safety.”
Health experts suspected that the student died after contracting the Marburg virus, due to the current outbreak in neighboring Tanzania.
According to SOS Media Burundi, a team was sent but the test results were negative for both Ebola and Marburg.
Marburg virus disease is a viral hemorrhagic fever that can have a fatality rate of up to 88 percent, according to the World Health Organization.
Symptoms include fever, fatigue, bloodstained vomit, and diarrhea.
There are currently no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat it.
An outbreak of Marburg disease continues in Equatorial Guinea on the west coast of Africa.
Seven people have died there since mid-February, and officials have counted 29 confirmed and probable cases, up from 16 last week.
In Tanzania, there were eight cases as of March 22, of which five were confirmed deaths.
Burundians have since been advised by the health ministry to wash their hands with soap and clean water and to avoid unprotected contact with body fluids.
It also advised against eating wild animals and touching corpses whose causes of death are not known.
Marburg has a fatality rate of 88 percent. There are currently no approved vaccines or treatments to treat the virus
The ministry said that it calls on “the population to remain calm and to report to the nearest health facility any person who has come into contact with the aforementioned symptoms.”
British health chiefs also continue to monitor cases of cholera in Burundi following the outbreak.
UK health authorities have also classified Burundi as having a high risk of Zika virus transmission.
Last July, Tanzania suffered an outbreak of a mysterious nosebleed disease, which claimed the lives of three people.
However, the Tanzanian government later identified the disease as leptospirosis, also known as Weil’s disease.
Weil’s disease is a rare disease spread through the urine of animals including rats, mice, cows, pigs and dogs.