A mysterious disease has claimed the lives of three people within just hours of them falling ill.
Dozens of people have been quarantined in the east African country of Burundi, with health authorities rushing to warn people to take extra hygiene precautions.
The disease, which claimed the lives of the three within 24 hours of them falling ill, has not yet been formally identified.
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All three of the deceased are understood to have lived in the same area.
SOS Media Burundireports that signs of contagion include “abdominal pain, nasal bleeding which increases after death, acute headaches, high fever, vomiting and dizziness”.
The symptoms of the disease are not dissimilar to those of Marburg or ebola – both conditions have however been ruled out by the Burundian Ministry of Health.
Speaking to the outlet a nurse from the Migwa health centre said: “It’s a disease that kills quickly.”
She is understood to have worked at one of the medical facilities where two of the patients were brought in their final moments.
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“It’s terrible, we are all waiting for death,” she said.
Discussing panic in the community, a government cabinet minister told the outlet: “So far, no real prevention strategy against this disease has been communicated”.
“Apart from washing your hands and avoiding greeting each other, there are no strict measures which can promote contamination.”
The third victim was an 18-year-old male who suffered from bloody vomiting, diarrhoea and nose bleeds.
He was taken to a different hospital and after his passing, the Ministry of Health issued a statement saying: “He died the same day and a dignified and secure burial was reserved for him”.
It had initially been thought that the man had contracted Marburg, which is currently having an outbreak in neighbouring Tanzania, but tests returned negative results.
“The Ministry of Human Health and the Fight Against AIDS is therefore surprised that there is no ebola or Marburg outbreak in the Muyinga province,” the government body continued.
“We are continuing investigations to identify the cause of death."
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