From MEDDY MULISA in Bukoba, 9th December 2010 @ 12:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 14
MYSTERIOUS disease has hit two journalists here - Benjamin Rwegasira of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and Raymond Owamani, a free-lancer with Radio Free Africa/Star TV - confining them to bed partially paralized for more than a month now.
The duo reportedly developed symptoms similar to those of a stroke which first attacked Owamani a few days before the October 31 elections. A few days later Rwegasira was struck by the disease, according to their close relatives.
The duo has since been admitted to Bukoba Regional Hospital where authorities have been tight-lipped to comment on the strange illness.
A stroke also known medically as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is the rapidly developing loss of brain function due to blood strains barriers 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 has left some people here terrified especially after reports on the outbreak of a mysterious disease in neighbouring Uganda.
The disease is reported to have killed 38 people in 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, typhoid and several other diseases.
It said some test results suggested it might be plague, but further tests were being carried out.
Patients complain of a severe headache and dizziness, which eventually give way to diarrhoea and vomiting.
The 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 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 first reported on 10 November, this year and more than 90 people have been treated. The ministry said it lasted for between two and 10 days, and that the vomit and diarrhoea contained blood.
Kagera Region is also on high polio alert following reports that areas neighbouring 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 earlier last month 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 making a 24-hour surveillance at all entry points to check new polio and amoebic dysentry 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, five to ten per cent die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.