Rare Pain: Ebola-like Disease Feared in Hwange

About 50 people from Change, Dinde and Nekabandama in Hwange District, Matabeleland North have been hospitalised at Lukosi Hospital and other surrounding health institutions after complaining of a rare pain which causes paralysis of the backbone, lower and upper body.

It is also reported that 15 cattle died mysteriously. Matabeleland North provincial medical director Dr Nyasha Masuka confirmed that 42 people were admitted at Lukosi Hospital.

“Most patients were admitted for three to four days and were given antibiotics and paracetamol. Investigations for malaria were negative. 
Ebola-related Disease in Hwange

"We couldn’t conduct further tests because patients could not afford and because of limited capacity at St Luke’s Hospital. It’s not that we couldn’t diagnose what disease it was but we had challenges conducting the necessary tests,” he said.

Dr Masuka said he has since instructed the Hwange District medical staff to thoroughly investigate the disease. Hwange Colliery Company will also assist with tests.

Our Bulawayo Bureau visited some of the affected areas in Hwange where patients complained of excruciating pain while some are finding it difficult to walk.

“The pain is now mild but I can’t keep stand for long. There are several people complaining about the same problem,” said Mr Biggy Shoko of Gamba village.

Ms Sithabile Nkosi of Change village said she was failing to perform her daily chores.
Hwange District medical officer Dr Wisdom Kurauone, said they had managed to contain the disease using antibiotics.

“We are treating it as malaria because the symptoms are similar. It’s true the disease has been spreading; we are worried because health workers are failing to detect the cause of the problem.

‘‘In my area they are now calling the disease “umtshetshaphansi” meaning something that goes secretly underground because of the mystery surrounding its origins,” he said.

Clr Chibuswa said villagers were also losing their cattle from the mysterious disease.
“Village head Samson Shoko lost eight cattle to an unknown disease which we suspect could be anthrax,” he said.

However, Hwange District Veterinary Department officer Dr Lovemore Dube said his office was yet to receive reports of cattle deaths.

“There could be many diseases which affect cattle due to heavy rains in the 2016/2017 summer season. We are treating it as malaria because the symptoms are similar,” he said. - Sunday Mail

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