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'Highly unlikely' Ebola cause of Burundian refugee death in Tanzania: UN

13 August 2015, 19:11

Dar es Salaam - The United Nations in Tanzania called for calm Thursday saying it was "highly unlikely" a Burundian refugee who died after bleeding from his eyes and ears had Ebola.

World Health Organization (WHO) experts have examined the death of the man on August 10, after he fell sick in a Burundian refugee camp in Tanzania's northwestern Kigoma region.

Also read: Handwashing in W African schools protects children, families from Ebola

"It is highly unlikely that he had Ebola, as review of the case by WHO shows that it does not meet the standard case definition for the disease," WHO and the UN refugee agency UNHCR said in a statement. "However precautions have been taken and continue."

Tanzanian health ministry spokesman Nsachris Mwamwaja said tests were ongoing but initial results showed he "died from other causes".

The man, who was sent to Kigoma hospital with "bleeding gums, eyes and ears" on Sunday before dying the next day, had sparked fears of an outbreak of the virus, the statement read.

"UNHCR is aware that this situation has caused serious concern," UNHCR chief in Tanzania Joyce Mends-Cole said, appealing for "patience and calm" until final test results were made.

The UN said the man had not left the region on the east side of Africa for three years and had no contact with anyone who may have been in countries affected with Ebola in west Africa.

"All those in contact with the deceased have been isolated and none have shown similar symptoms to those of the deceased," the statement added.

Ebola has claimed around 11,300 lives since late 2013. More than 99 percent of these occurred in the three west African countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to WHO.



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