At least 15 people have reportedly died in Tanzania following an unidentified illness in the south-western part of the country.
Over 50 others have also been hospitalized over the illness which causes many to experience nausea and vomit blood.
Health officials said on Sunday that victims die within hours after vomiting blood but the Health Ministry of Tanzania has ruled out any outbreak of a disease.
The ministry has however sent a team of experts to the area to investigate the reports.
The chief medical officer in the remote Chunya district of Mbeya city, Felista Kisandu confirmed that a team of medical experts have been deployed to assess patients and investigate the cause of the outbreak.
“This problem has not been widespread, it has happened in just a single administrative ward of Ifumbo where people vomit blood and die when they get to the hospital late,” Kisandu said.
She said initial clinical examination revealed the patients, mostly men, experienced stomach ulcers and liver disease.
Kisandu added that “We have advised them to avoid drinking illicit brew, smoking cigarettes and other hard drinks,” she said.
Health minister Dorothy Gwajika hours after Kisandu’s comments suspended her for telling local media that the deaths were due to an illness.
The ministry said it had established that the symptoms exhibited had been reported from as early as 2018.
It urged the public to remain calm as it investigates the development amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
President John Magufuli has ruled out any plans to order vaccines after declaring the country Covid-19 free.
President Magufuli who believes in prayers and taking precautions, said “Many countries have lockdown, but in Tanzania there are no plan of lockdown and we’ll never introduce lockdown because our God is alive and he will continue to protects us.”
Tanzanians have resorted to the use of herbal remedies to boost their immunity.