19 October 2017

Uganda: Marburg Disease Alert - One Confirmed Dead in Kween

Photo: The Independent
The country’s first outbreak of the deadly Ebola-like pathogen in three years has been confirmed in Kween in eastern Uganda.

Ministry of Health has confirmed an outbreak of the Marburg virus disease in the eastern district of Kween.

Minister of Health, Ruth Aceng said as at October 19 only one case had been confirmed of a 50-year-old female from Chemuron village, Moyok parish, Moyok sub-county, Kween district.

Aceng said the victim showed signs and symptoms suggestive of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) and passed away on the night of October 11 at Kapchorwa hospital. She had been referred from Kaproron Health Center IV in Kween district.

According to the ministry, preliminary field investigations indicated that prior to her death; the deceased had nursed her 42-year-old brother, who had died on September 25, with similar signs and symptoms of the Marburg virus disease.

It is reported that she had actively participated in the cultural preparations of the body for burial.

The deceased's brother was reported to be a hunter who carried out his activities where there are caves with heavy presence of bats. No samples were taken off his body prior to his burial.

INTERVENTIONS

According to Aceng, the ministry has deployed a Rapid Response Team to Kween and Kapchorwa districts. The team will support District Rapid Response Teams to investigate and assess the magnitude of the threat and to institute appropriate control measures to avert the disease threat.

An isolation ward at the Kapchorwa district hospital and Kaproron Health Center IV in Kween district have been established.

ABOUT MARBURG

Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) is caused by the Marburg virus, a rare but severe type of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever which affects both humans and non-human primates like monkeys, baboons.

The reservoir host of Marburg virus is the African fruit bat. Fruit bats infected with Marburg virus do not show obvious signs of illness. Primates (including humans) are vulnerable to contracting the Marburg virus, which is known to have a very high mortality.

In Marburg outbreaks, the first person normally gets infected through contact with infected bats or animals (normally monkeys/baboons).

Once the first person (Index case) gets infected with the Marburg Virus, human to human transmission of Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) then occurs through contact with the body fluids (blood, vomitus, Urine, feces, etc) of already infected persons.

Close contacts to already infected persons (like close family members of already infected persons) and health workers are particularly at increased risk of getting infected with the Marburg virus.

A person suffering from Marburg presents with sudden onset of high-grade fever accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

1. Headache

2. Vomiting blood

3. Joint and muscle pains

4. Unexplained bleeding through the body openings including the eyes, nose, gums, ears, anus and the skin.

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