Mystery illness killed 15 in Tanzania, leaves 50 hospitalized

Citing "unnecessary panic" Tanzania's Heath minister Dorothy Gwajika suspended Felista Kisandu, Chief Medical Officer of the Chunya District in Mbeya, Tanzania on Saturday, February 6 for ten days.


Kisandu's offense was speaking with local media about a mystery illness that has left 15 dead, often within hours of beginning to vomit blood, and another 50, mostly men, hospitalized.


The illness was isolated to the Mbeya region of Tanzania.  "The problem has not been widespread," she stated. "It has happened in just a single administrative ward of Ifumbo where people vomit blood and die when they get to the hospital late."


"The cases of their illness has not been identified yet, but Tanzania's Health Ministry has ruled out an outbreak," she had stated at the time. "Initial clinical examinations revealed the patients, mostly men, suffered from stomach ulcers and liver disease."


Local water is being tested for possible mercury contamination while advisories have been issued "to avoid drinking illicit brew, smoking cigarettes and other hard drinks."


Blood samples taken from those that fell ill have been sent for testing.


The Health Ministry has determined that the symptoms exhibited have been reported as early as 2018 and urged calm while they investigate the matter further.