GENEVA - The World Health Organization is expressing concern about Tanzanian authorities' reluctance to share detailed information about suspected cases of Ebola, and is calling for full transparency.
Two weeks ago, the World Health Organization received what it calls unofficial reports regarding the death of a person in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam. The person was suspected of having contracted the deadly Ebola virus.
Since then, WHO says it was told by unofficial sources that a 27-year old man suspected of carrying the virus was admitted to a hospital. However, it says it has received no information regarding laboratory tests and results either proving or disproving the presence of the deadly virus.
During a press conference on September 14, the Tanzanian authorities announced there was no Ebola outbreak in the country.
WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib says that despite repeated requests, WHO has not received further details of any of the suspected Ebola case from Tanzanian authorities.
“We need information to make a proper risk assessment," she said. "If it is Ebola or if it is another disease, we need to know it and to share the information with the international community… We stand ready to provide all the technical support to the Tanzanian authorities to investigate — if it is not Ebola, what is it as a disease and to provide them with technical expertise and help.”
The latest reports by WHO find 3,157 cases of Ebola in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, including 2,108 deaths. A few cases and deaths in Uganda have been reported, but the disease has been contained there.
In mid-July, the WHO declared the Ebola outbreak in DRC a "public health emergency of international concern." WHO urged member states of the region to strengthen their readiness and preparedness.
In the case of Tanzania, WHO says the risk at regional level is considered high due to potential cross-border travels. However, it says the risk at the global level is considered low.
Spokeswoman Chaib says WHO advises against any restrictions on travel or trade to Tanzania based on the currently available information.