THE government has refuted circulating rumours about an Ebola outbreak in the country, insisting that Tanzania has intensified preventive measures against the deadly disease.
Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that members of the public should remain calm because so far there was no Ebola patient reported in the country.
She said the rumour of the outbreak of the viral disease circulating on social media was due to the presence of two patients, who were suspected of having contracted the viral disease, but tests conducted by her ministry showed that they were negative.
"The ministry took samples of the two patients for testing and it was satisfied that they had no Ebola virus ... I am insisting that so far there is no patient, who has been confirmed to have contracted the Ebola virus in the country," she noted.
Ms Mwalimu explained that it was illegal for any person to announce the outbreak of any disease in the country because the authority to do so was vested in her ministry.
He stressed that the government had been taking preventive measures since the viral disease was reported for the first time in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in August last year.
She said until August this year 3,099 patients had been confirmed to have contracted the deadly disease in the DRC.
"We have been taking various preventive measures to ensure the disease does not cross to Tanzania such as strengthening coordination and monitoring of the disease through the health staff in regions, districts and entry points and screening of people entering the country through various entry points and availability of walkthrough and hand held thermal scanners,” she said.
She added that the government through her ministry had also purchased and distributed 2,700 sets of personal protective equipment for the health staff in all regions, which were at higher risk of the disease, including Kigoma, Kagera, Mwanza, Rukwa and Katavi, which bordered the DRC.
"We have also prepared the guidelines on how to overcome the disease and copies will be distributed to all regional medical doctors and educate members of the public about the viral disease," Ms Mwalimu noted.
She further said that her ministry had also trained more than 460 health personnel and 264 people at community level on how to overcome the disease.
Ms Mwalimu said since the disease continued being reported in neighbouring countries citizens should continue taking preventive measures such as washing hands frequently, avoiding contact with infected people and reporting to authorities in case of any suspected patient.
In June this year health authorities warned members of the public to be on the alert following an Ebola outbreak in the DRC and in neighbouring Uganda.
Ms Mwalimu said Tanzania had not reported any case of Ebola, but it was not immune from the disease due to crossborder interaction.