JOHANNESBURG — The World Health Organization has issued an unusual statement raising questions about whether Tanzania is covering up possible cases of the deadly Ebola virus, a significant cause for concern during a regional outbreak that has been declared a rare global health emergency.
The statement Saturday says Tanzania’s government “despite several requests” is refusing to share the results of its investigations into a number of patients with Ebola-like symptoms and is refusing to ship patient samples to an outside WHO partner lab.
Tanzania’s government, which has said it has no Ebola cases, could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday. The cases would be the first-ever Ebola infections confirmed in the East African country.
The United Nations health agency says it was made aware on Sept. 10 of the death in Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, of a patient suspected to have Ebola. A day later, it received unofficial reports that an Ebola test had come back positive. On Thursday, it received unofficial reports that a contact of the patient, who had traveled widely in the country, was sick and hospitalized.