21 October 2012

Rwanda: Health Ministry Warns on Marburg Fever

Photo: WHO
Medical officers preparing for the safe transport and burial of fatal cases of Marburg haemorrhagic fever (file photo).

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has called on the public to immediately report any signs or suspected cases of Marburg hemorrhagic fever, as steps are taken to prevent the deadly virus.

The warning comes at a time when an outbreak of the deadly virus has been confirmed in neighbouring Uganda. On Friday, Uganda's Health Ministry confirmed the highly infectious viral hemorrhagic fever in Kitumba Sub-county, Kabale District in South-Western Uganda.

"Following reported outbreaks of the deadly Marburg hemorrhagic fever in neighbouring Uganda, the Ministry of Health is cautioning the public to remain vigilant as the government steps up measures of preventing in-flow of the deadly virus into Rwanda," reads the warning, a copy of which The Sunday Times has received.

By Saturday, the deadly virus had claimed four people from the same family in Kabale.

Marburg hemorrhagic fever is a highly contagious disease transmitted from person to person and characterised by fever, headache, joint and muscle pain.

A person suffering from it also experiences sore throat, weakness, diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pains and bleeding from all body openings, i.e eyes, nose,gums, ears, anus and the skin.

"Kabale District borders Rwanda, and specifically, the Districts of Gicumbi, Musanze, Nyagatare, and Burera that share a boarder with Uganda are at a high risk," the warning reads.

MoH, in collaboration with its partners, and through the emergency preparedness team, is taking actions to prevent potential health risks that might be caused by the deadly disease.

Alert warnings have been issued to all health centres on how to detect and handle cases once they arise. Health care providers at District Hospitals and Health Centres have been trained to prevent and manage the fever.

All necessary kits and medical supplies needed have been dispatched to all health facilities.

Members of public are required to seek medical attention at the nearest health facility especially those who visited Uganda and are experiencing signs or suspect they might be having the virus.

The ministry says it has elaborated plans to effectively respond should there be an outbreak. It, however, urges the public to stay calm.

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