Tanzania on Tuesday summoned the World Health Organization’s local representative over its assertion that the government refused to share information on suspected Ebola cases, signalling displeasure at the agency’s rare public rebuke.
Transparency and speed are key to combating the deadly hemorrhagic fever because it can spread rapidly.
Anyone deemed to have been in contact with potentially infected people must be quarantined and the public warned to step up precautions such as hand washing.
WHO said late on Saturday it was made aware on September 10 of the death of a patient in Dar es Salaam, and was unofficially told the next day that the person had tested positive for Ebola.
The woman had died on September 8.
On Tuesday, government spokesman Hassan Abbasi said on Twitter that WHO country representative Tigest Ketsela Mengestu was summoned by deputy foreign affairs minister Damas Ndumbaro, in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
“The representative insisted that the WHO has not declared that there is Ebola in Tanzania, nor does it have any evidence on that and pledged to cooperate with the government,” Abbasi said.
“During the talks, the WHO agreed to strictly follow guidelines outlined by the agency itself and ratified by the government if it wants to get any additional information from the Tanzanian government.”
In its weekend statement, WHO said it was unofficially told that Tanzania had two other possible Ebola cases. One had tested negative and there was no information on the other.
Officially, the Tanzanian government had said in the previous week it had no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola.