Mystery ‘nosebleed virus’ which killed three identified as ‘rat fever’


The illness is technically called leptospirosis and causes fatigue, fever and headaches as well as nosebleeds (Picture: Getty Images)

A mysterious ‘nosebleed’ disease that has left at least three people dead in Tanzania has been identified as ‘rat fever’.

Around 20 cases of the illness have been reported in the south east of Lindi, including the trio who died.

Now the East African nation government has said is leptospirosis or Weil’s disease – a bacterial infection commonly spread by the rodents.

Last week authorities dispatched a team of doctors and experts to the southeastern region of Lindi where 20 cases have been reported, including the three people who died.

Health minister Ummy Mwalimu, who visited the area, said the disease was caused by a bacteria spread through consuming water or food contaminated by infected animal urine.

Urging people to remain calm, she said: ‘A good thing is that this disease is preventable and curable.’

Most patients have recovered from the illness, which gives sufferers fever, fatigues and headaches as well as nosebleeds. In severe cases, it can cause internal bleeding, kidney failure or meningitis.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan suggested the outbreak may have been due to environmental degredation forcing animals and humans closer together (Picture: Getty Images)

But Ms Mwalimu confirmed that two people remain in isolation.

It comes after Ghana reported its first ever cases of the Marburg virus, which is similar to Ebola. Both patients have died.

All of the 20 cases of ‘rat fever’ have tested negative for both Marburg and Ebola, as well as Covid-19.

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan suggested last week that the ‘strange’ disease may have been the result of ‘growing interaction’ between humans and wild animals, thanks to environmental degradation.

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