The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, who made the call noted that healthcare providers and the general public should immediately report any sign of illness to public health officials immediately. He insisted that people must bear in mind that Tanzania was not immune to a possible Ebola outbreak despite the fact that the latest cases of the disease have been reported far away in the DR Congo, at the border with the Central African Republic (CAR).
Officials in the province of Bas Uele said that samples taken from victims in the village of Likati confirmed the outbreak.
The GAVI global vaccine alliance said on Friday some 300,000 emergency doses of an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck (MRK.N) could be available in case of a large-scale outbreak and that it stood ready to support the Congo government on the matter.
According to Tanzania's health ministry spokesperson, the government was watching closely as reports of the outbreak continue to unfold. We will issue out details on this.
Minister of Public Health Oly Ilunga Kalenga has informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of the "outbreak of an Ebola virus epidemic" in the northern province of Bas-Uele.
Ebola is fatal in about 90 per cent of cases and is easily spread between humans through direct contact.
"Of the five blood samples taken from suspected cases and analyzed at the INRB, one was positive for the Ebola virus", the minister said in a correspondence addressed to the World Health Organization representative in the DRC.
The virus, which has been known to be transferred through infected bush meat coming from animals like apes, first was detected in 1976 in a dense forest region that contained the River Ebola.
It comes just a year after an Ebola epidemic in West Africa killed more than 11,300 people, a lot of them in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Health officials are investigating 17 other suspected cases, Dr. Ernest Dabire, WHO's health cluster coordinator, said Sunday in Kinshasa.
That approach, used in the trial that proved the effectiveness of the vaccine, involves vaccinating the people who had contact with a confirmed case.