Spreading Mystery Illness Causes Headaches, Nosebleeds Before Death

By Jason Hall

March 17, 2023

Close-up of a male patient's hand in a hospital bed with oximeter
Photo: Getty Images

A mysterious disease that causes headaches and nosebleeds before death has reportedly already killed at least five people as it continues to spread in Tanzania, the Mirror reports.

Health officials in Tanzania have described the illness as "strange" and a team of doctors has been assigned to diagnose the illness after seven cases were initially reported in the northwest region of Kagera.

“The government formed a regional team of professionals under the Rapid Response Team who are investigating this unknown disease," Tanzania chief medical officer Tumaini Nagu told the BBC via the Mirror.

Health experts have advised the public to avoid contact with infected individuals and remain calm amid the mysterious disease's spreading. In July, three people in Tanzania died after experiencing similar symptoms from what was later identified to be part of a leptospirosis, otherwise known as Weil's disease, outbreak, BBC.com reported.

Leptospirosis is typically spread through the urine of several animal species including rats, mice, cows, pigs and dogs and results in symptoms of fever, headache, feeling sick, aching muscles and joints, red eyes and a loss of appetite. More severe cases of leptospirosis have resulted in patients experiencing yellow skin and eyes, swollen ankles, feet and/or hands, chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing up blood.

The disease is, however, treatable with antibiotics, which typically clear up symptoms within a few days to weeks, according to the Mirror.

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