DAR ES SALAAM, March 10 — Tanzanian health authorities said on Wednesday the government is on high alert over the reported outbreak of yellow fever in neighboring Kenya.
Ummy Mwalimu, the Minister for Health, said the ministry has reinforced checks against the deadly virus on the country’s borders and other entry points, including ports and airports.
“Health personnel at all the country’s borders and other points of entry including ports and airports has been directed to ensure that travelers from high-risk countries in parts of Africa and Latin America are not allowed to enter into the country without proof of yellow fever vaccination certificates,” Mwalimu told a news conference in the capital Dodoma.
She said until now Tanzania has not recorded any case of yellow fever, a viral infection spread by a particular type of mosquito that causes fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
Mwalimu, who was flanked by the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative for Tanzania, Tigest Mengestu, said there were unconfirmed reports that the disease has also been identified in Uganda, South Sudan, and Chad.
She said Tanzania had never experienced the outbreak of yellow fever since 1950.
Mwalimu said on March 3, the WHO informed the government of Tanzania of the outbreak of yellow fever in the pastoralist and remote county of Isiolo in Kenya, about 270 kilometers north of the capital Nairobi.
For her part, the WHO country representative underscored the need to intensify surveillance, saying diagnosis alone was not enough as the symptoms of yellow fever resembled other diseases like dengue and malaria.
Yellow fever can become more fatal, causing heart, liver, and kidney problems along with bleeding. (Xinhua)