October 2014 – UGANDA – World Health Organization (WHO) representative said Tuesday. Preparations are underway to quarantine the eight, the country’s Health Ministry said. WMUR 9 News reported the number of people exhibiting symptoms was as high as eleven. A 30-year-old radiographer who had worked at Kampala’s Mengo Hospital died of the Marburg virus on September 28. Nearly 100 people who had been in contact with the victim have been identified, including workers at Mengo Hospital and another clinic that treated the victim and people living in western Kasese district, where the deceased was buried. “We are in the initial stages of the Ugandan epidemic,” WHO representative Alemu Wondimagegnehu told dpa. “We cannot tell what lies ahead, but efforts should be stepped up in vigilance and to activate the existing hemorrhagic fever task forces,” Wondimagegnehu said. The government said earlier it was mobilizing health teams and had issued a public alert, asking Ugandans to avoid contact with people with disease symptoms and to report suspected cases. Three days after a fatal case of Marburg hemorrhagic fever was diagnosed in Uganda, 99 people are under isolation in four different locations across the East African country, as field epidemiologists and surveillance officers continue to closely monitor all people who got into contact with only victim.
“As of today, a total of 99 contacts are under follow up. All the contacts are still in a healthy condition,” Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, director general for health services in Uganda, said in the latest update on the outbreak on Tuesday. Aceng revealed that at least 11 people have tested negative after results from Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) indicate that although the suspects had developed signs and symptoms similar to that of the disease, they did not contract the virus. “However, for those who continue to have signs, tests will be run again after three days,” Aceng said. According to the WHO, the Marburg virus begins abruptly with severe headaches and malaise. It causes severe bleeding, fever, vomiting and diarrhea and, like Ebola, is transmitted through bodily fluids. Fatality rates in Marburg outbreaks have varied from 25 to more than 80 per cent, the WHO says. The virus is named after the German town of Marburg, following an epidemic there and in Frankfurt in 1967. The Marburg virus entered Uganda in 2012, affecting four south-western districts and killing nine people. Uganda also has a history of Ebola outbreaks: The virus killed 224 people in the north of the country in 2000-01, 37 people near the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007 and 17 people in the west of the country in 2012. –Spy Ghana, WMUR