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Tanzania on high alert as two suspected cases of Ebola reported in NW region | Updated: 2012-08-07 13:28

Tanzania is on high alert as the government is investigating two reported cases of suspected Ebola outbreak in the country's northwestern regions near the border with where an Ebola outbreak has killed at least 16 people.

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Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare Seif Suleiman Rashid told Xinhua from Dodoma, capital of the East African country, where he has been attending the budget session that a team of doctors had been sent to the scene to investigate the reported suspected cases.

The two patients were admitted at Nyakahanga hospital in Karagwe district, Kagera Region, in western Tanzania, after they showed symptoms of the deadly disease.

Andrew Charles, a doctor in charge at the hospital, told Xinhua on the phone that a six-year old boy was admitted to the hospital after he was suspected of having symptoms of the disease.

Blood samples of the child had been sent for laboratory testing in Dar es Salaam, but the results were not yet released until Monday morning.

Meanwhile, Dr Charles said that the admitted child was under the intensive care unit and separated from the rest of the patients, adding that his condition was improving as of Sunday evening.

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare alerted the public last Wednesday to take precautions following the outbreak of Ebola in the neighboring Uganda and named five regions in the western part of the country to be on high alert.

Ebola is a viral infection related to HIV that is characterized by fever, body aches, rash, abdominal pain, and in most case violent hemorrhaging (bleeding from body openings). Similar to HIV, Ebola is spread only through contact with bodily fluids.

Death rates from previous outbreaks range from 50-90 percent and there is no known cure or treatment except to treat the symptoms.

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