29 October 2012

East Africa: Marburg Contained - Health Ministry

Kampala — The Ministry of Health has urged the public to remain calm and avoid contact with victims of Marburg or report any suspected cases with the outbreak of the epidemicanywhere.

According to the Minister for health Hon. Christine Ondoa, The ministry has developed a response plan for the Marburg control, surveillance, and procurement of protective gear amounting to Ushs 2.3 billion(US$900,000).

"The ministry of health surveillance team has listed up a total of 196 contacts for the close monitoring so individuals are called upon to be calm for all possible measures are undertaken to control the situation," said Ondoa during a press briefing in Kampala recently.

The ministry declared an outbreak of Marburg in Kabale District (Western Uganda) on October 19th 2012 after receiving laboratory results from the Uganda Virus Institute (UVRI) confirming that the two family members had died of the highly infectious viral hemorrhagic fever.

According to the reports, patients presented with symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, fever, headache, dizziness and generalized convulsions.

"Marburg and Ebola have similar control mechanisms and since the outbreak of Marburg fever in the country, the ministry took the initiatives to alert all the medical workers to ensure that they disease is handled," explained Ondoa. "Six people have already been confirmed dead and other cases are also confirmed with one being suspected."

Dr. Joaquim Saweka, Uganda WHO Country Representative alerted that Marburg is highly inflectional and kills in a short time but can be prevented.

"Marburg is spread through direct contact with body fluids like blood, saliva, vomitus, stool and urine of an infected person," warned Seweka. "The public is told to continue accessing Mulago hospital and Kabale hospital without any fear despite the outbreak of Marburg in the country."

Ondoa noted that the ministry continues to monitor 196 people who are suspected to have contacted with the dead.

The last outbreak of Marburg in Uganda came in 2007 and killed two miners in the country's west.

The Marburg outbreak in Uganda comes just after the World Health Organization had just declared an end of the Ebola outbreak.

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