UGANDA CONFIRMS A CASE OF THE MARBURG VIRUS

October 9, 2014 OPINION/NEWS

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By

Robert Ssewankambo

The Ministry of Health has confirmed a case of the Marburg virus in Uganda.

This initial case follows laboratory tests undertaken at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) on September 30th 2014 which confirmed that one person, a health worker, had died of the viral hemorrhagic fever.

The index case is a 30-year-old male Radiographer, who originally was working in Mpigi Health Centre IV, Mpigi Town Council, but had been recruited by Mengo Hospital two months ago as a Radiographer. He started feeling unwell on September 17th while at Mengo Hospital and travelled back to Mpigi HCIV on September 18th to seek treatment as he felt more comfortable with a facility that he had worked with for a long time.

He was treated at Mpigi Health Center IV but when his condition worsened, he was transferred back to Mengo Hospital where he was admitted on September 23rd. He presented with Headache, Epistaxis, abdominal pain, vomiting blood and diarrhea. On September 7th his condition deteriorated and a Viral Hemorrhagic fever was suspected. Blood samples were removed for further analysis on September 28th but he unfortunately died that same day. His body was taken to Munkunyu 1 Village, Munkunyu Sub-county, Kasese district for burial.

Preliminary reports also show that his brother, one of the contacts listed, has developed signs too. He has been quarantined and isolated for further monitoring. Samples have been taken from him and are being tested at the Uganda Virus Research Institute. Altogether 80 contacts have been listed from Mengo, Mpigi and Kasese for follow up.

Marburg Viral Hemorrhagic fever is a fatal illness caused by the Marburg virus which belongs to the filoviridae family together with the Ebola virus. The incubation period ranges from 2 to 21 days while the case fatality rates vary from 24% to 88%. Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural hosts of the Marburg virus. The virus is transmitted to people from the fruit bats and spreads among humans through human-to-human transmission by direct contact with wounds and body fluids such as the blood and saliva of an infected person.

The minister of State for General duties, Hon Elioda Tumwesigye said “Immediate measures to control the spread of the disease have been put in place and Mengo Hospital is safe. All measures have been taken to ensure that there is no further spread of infection. Patients are encouraged to continue to receive services from there,” and urged the public to “remain calm and be on alert amidst this epidemic”.

 

 

 

 

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Robert Ssewankambo

Robert Ssewankambo is a Ugandan writer. Working currently on a freelance basis, he is a regular contributor to major newspapers in Uganda and electronic online magazines and media sources in Africa, such as the Bukedde newspaper, Hindered radio, Red Pepper, Eddobozzi newspaper and African Interest online.

For media enquiries, contact Robert at the following email address: sewankamborobert@gmail.com

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