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Undiagnosed illness, journalists, Kagera, Tanzania

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  • Undiagnosed illness, journalists, Kagera, Tanzania,86194

    Archive Number 20101211.4413
    Published Date 11-DEC-2010
    Subject PRO/EDR> Undiagnosed disease - Tanzania: (KA), RFI

    ************************************************** ***************
    A ProMED-mail post
    ProMED-mail is a program of the
    International Society for Infectious Diseases

    Date: Sat 11 Dec 2010
    Source: Daily News online, Tanzania [edited]

    Journalists stricken by 'mysterious' disease
    A mysterious disease has hit 2 journalists here in the Kagera Region
    -- one employed by the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and
    the other a free-lancer with Radio Free Africa/Star TV -- causing
    them to be partially paralyzed for more than a month now.

    The duo reportedly developed symptoms similar to those of a stroke
    which 1st attacked the Radio Free Africa reporter a few days before
    the 31 Oct 2010 elections. A few days later the TBC reporter was
    struck down by the disease, according to close relatives
    . The duo
    have since been admitted to Bukoba Regional Hospital where the
    hospital authorities have been tight-lipped [avoiding] comment on the
    strange illness.

    A stroke, also known medically as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA),
    is a consequence of rapidly developing loss of brain function due to
    blood [clots forming in the brain]. This could be due to ischemia
    (lack of blood flow) caused by blockage (thrombosis, arterial
    embolism) or a haemorrhage. As a result the affected area of the
    brain is unable to function, leading to inability to move one or more
    limbs on one side of the body, inability to understand or formulate
    speech, or an inability to see one side of the visual field.

    The news about the journalists' unknown disease [illness] has left
    some people here terrified especially after reports on the outbreak
    of a mysterious disease in neighbouring Uganda. This disease is
    reported to have killed 38 people in the Agago, Abim and Kitgum
    districts in northern Uganda so far, and medical tests have so far
    failed to identify it.

    The Ugandan Ministry of Health said the preliminary tests had ruled
    out ebola [haemorrhagic fever], typhoid and several other diseases.
    It said some test results suggested it might be plague, but further
    tests were being carried out. The Ugandan patients complain of a
    severe headache and dizziness, which eventually give way to diarrhoea
    and vomiting.

    The [Ugandan?] Ministry said that a full recovery was possible if
    people sought medical help in early stages. It said the results
    suggesting that it was plague were not consistent with findings by
    medical workers on the ground. The [Ugandan] Ministry had advised
    people not to eat meat from sick domestic and wild animals and to
    take precautions such as washing hands regularly. The illness was 1st
    reported on 10 Nov 2010, and more than 90 people have been treated.
    The Ministry said it lasted for between 2 and 10 days, and that the
    vomit and diarrhoea contained blood.

    The Kagera Region [of Tanzania] is also on high polio alert following
    reports that areas neighboring The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
    risked a major resurgence of the disease after 63 cases were
    discovered this year.

    The warning came after neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville [Republic of
    Congo] earlier last month [November 2010] said an epidemic had killed
    169 people since October, a decade after the disease was considered
    to have been eradicated there.

    Sources at the Kagera Regional Hospital told the 'Daily News' that
    health officials were undertaking 24-hour surveillance at all entry
    points to check new polio and amoebic dysentery cases. The entry
    points include Rusumo and Kabanga, in Ngara district, Kaisho and
    Murongo, in Karagwe district, Kyaka and Mutukula, in Misenyi district.

    Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious disease caused by a
    virus. It invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in
    a matter of hours. The virus enters the body through the mouth and
    multiplies in the intestines. Initial symptoms are fever, fatigue,
    headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. One
    in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis (usually in the
    legs). Among those paralysed, 5 to 10 percent die when their
    breathing muscles become immobilized.

    [Byline: Meddy Mulisa]

    Communicated by:
    HealthMap Alerts
    via ProMED-mail <>

    [It is unclear from the information available whether the undiagnosed
    disease affecting the 2 journalists is infectious, or whether these
    stroke-like illnesses are independent events
    . However, the proximity
    of the Kagera region of Tanzania to the northern region of Uganda
    where a so far undiagnosed disease is spreading is a cause for alarm,
    as is the resurgence of poliomyelitis in the Congo region of Africa.

    The symptoms of the illness afflicting the 2 journalists are more
    comparable with poliomyelitis in previously unimmunised adults rather
    than the relatively undefined symptoms exhibited by the Ugandan
    patients. Further information on the characterisation and etiology of
    the disease affecting the 2 journalists is requested.

  • #2
    Re: Undiagnosed illness, journalitsts, Kagera, Tanzania

    This illness looks nothing like the one in Uganda and is certainly unrelated. In fact, this likely started before the Ugandan outbreak.

    Perhaps it is just two individuals who had strokes a few days apart, or perhaps a poisoning is suspect as the two affected individuals were journalists covering an election.

    The lack of other reported cases over the past month argues against an infectious cause, as does the lack of reported fever. Polio is unlikely, as all of Africa conducts routine AFP surveillance, and if these cases had presented as anything close to AFP, samples would have been sent to laboratories weeks ago.

    The source itself is slightly questionable, as it still refers to amoebic dysentery in Uganda, a diagnosis that has been ruled out.


    • #3
      Re: Undiagnosed illness, journalists, Kagera, Tanzania

      Please see:

      Chile: 7 yr. old with A/H1N1 dies of stroke - July 2009
      "May the long time sun
      Shine upon you,
      All love surround you,
      And the pure light within you
      Guide your way on."

      "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling."

      “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
      Mohandas Gandhi

      Be the light that is within.


      • #4
        Re: Undiagnosed illness, journalists, Kagera, Tanzania

        This is from November 29, and indicates the initial diagnosis was a stroke, but that the two individuals were friends. The dates of illness may be a month or more apart (longer than the incubation period of polio), as it looks like Mr. Rwegasira was hospitalized on November 28, whereas Mr. Owamani was hospitalized a few days before the October 31 election.

        No indication of any sign this is infectious or toxic; this appears to just be an odd coincidence (and imagine the number of journalists who did not have strokes this year - 2 strokes in several hundred or several thousand people is not that unusual).

        The problem of disease stroke Journalists TV / Radio Kagera

        Health professionals help these writers with the problem of falling (stroke)

        He started Mr. Raymond Owaman of Star TV and the RFA, who until now has admitted he fell to Ben yesterday Rwegasira of TBC, so far is the hospital of Kagera region is jitambui

        Both are of Kagera and were friends

        Those who are aware of the problem as it help comments.


        • #5
          Re: Undiagnosed illness, journalists, Kagera, Tanzania

          Any connection to this flu trackers link?

          Flu Tracker Post


          • #6
            Re: Undiagnosed illness, journalists, Kagera, Tanzania

            Gracias Curiosity,

            Here is the translated version in English:

            Veracruz- Flaccid Paralysis in the region of Orizaba

            Spanish to English translation

            Veracruz- Flaccid Paralysis in the region of Orizaba
            No cause for alarm, the disease is not contagious and can be linked to the winter season, says Secretary Paul Anaya, after visiting patients hospitalized in the White River Regional Hospital

            By: Staff HOYTamaulipas

            The Note has been seen 480 times 12/12/2010 | Updated at 13:10 h

            Orizaba, Veracruz .- Upon detection of some cases involving acute flaccid paralysis in this region of central Florida, the Health Secretary, Paul Anaya Rivera, visited hospitalized patients in the Rio Blanco Regional Hospital and the IMSS, and made a call for people not to be alarmed, because the disease is not contagious or life-threatening and can be linked to the winter season.

            Following the instructions of Governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa, to give immediate attention to patients and to investigate the origin of this disease, the head of the Health Ministry told media that evil produces muscle weakness and loss of reflexes and cramps and tingling, so he insisted the entire population of any age who has any of these symptoms, go immediately to the health centers.

            At a press conference accompanied by personnel from the Sanitary District No. VII and the Mexican Social Security Institute, said that while some features are similar to Guillain-Barré syndrome is difficult to diagnose in early stages, so have sent samples to the laboratories of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Atlanta, United States, and next Tuesday will arrive in this city, another group of neurologists and internists to further investigate the possible causes of the outbreak.

            Anaya Rivera said that evil can be related to the winter season, with respiratory disease who have had those now suffering from this paralysis is not contagious or fatal and whose recovery may be one month to one year depending on the physical and hygiene of the patient.

            Therefore, he called to take preventive action such as when you had the flu outbreak as washing hands, covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing, drinking purified water, and apply the proper shots this season.

            He said the recovery of patients is progressive and center or health facility must care for the sick and rehabilitation proportional or non-beneficiaries.

            The health secretary, accompanied by the delegate of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, south, Samuel Orrico, and the head of the Sanitary District Number 7, Eva Campos, visited hospital patients in the Rio Blanco Regional Hospital and the IMSS, to make sure their attention is due.


            • #7
              Re: Undiagnosed illness, journalists, Kagera, Tanzania

              There are a lot of things that could cause AFP, including polio. The above post is from Mexico, not Africa, but it is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

              If there were a polio outbreak in Tanzania, one would expect to see more than just the two cases, and there would be fever and other infecitous symptoms reported, which is why I think polio is unlikely in this case.