• UAE citizens who are already in both countries are advised to follow safety instructions
  • They are asked to call the ministry in case of emergency
  • Marburg disease is comparable to Ebola and has an 88 percent death rate

The UAE has advised citizens against traveling to Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea amid an outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus in the countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) has issued a travel advisory, urging Emiratis to maintain caution and postpone travel to both African nations. The advisory came in view of the announcement made by health authorities in Tanzania and Guinea over outbreaks of Marburg virus disease.

"In view of the announcement by the health authorities in the Federal Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea of monitoring outbreaks of Marburg virus disease, and based on the ministry's concern for the safety of the country's citizens, the Ministry advises to postpone travel at the present time to the Federal Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea," the ministry's advisory read.

The ministry advised UAE citizens who are already in both countries to abide by instructions from health authorities and call the authorities in case of emergency. "The Ministry calls upon the citizens of the country who are there to take caution and follow the safety instructions issued by the competent authorities. It also invites them to contact the Ministry in emergency cases via the number 0097180024," the advisory added.

The advisory comes a week after Equatorial Guinea announced that several people living in rural areas had been diagnosed with Marburg Virus and that the outbreak had already spread to the commercial capital of Bata. The country has so far reported at least 13 cases of the disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that at least nine people have died from the Ebola-like disease, five of whom were from Tanzania where health authorities said the outbreak had been contained. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, also said efforts were underway by Tanzanian authorities to determine the cause of the outbreak.

"We are working with the government to rapidly scale up control measures to halt the spread of the virus and end the outbreak as soon as possible," he said.

The Marburg disease was first discovered in 1967 following simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany and Belgrade in Serbia. Symptoms of the disease, which has an 88 percent death rate, progress from severe headache, fatigue and nausea to hemorrhage within a week.

Representational Image of a Virus
Representational Image: Virus