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What you need to know about the Marburg outbreak in Kween district

Marburg outbreak in Kween district – Health Ministry still investigating. Courtesy photo.

Uganda has faced an outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus for the first time in three years.

“The cumulative number of cases remains at 3, with 1 confirmed case, 1 suspected and 1 probable case,” Ministry of Health boss, Jane Ruth Aceng said in a statement issued 22nd October, 2017.

She assured press that the Ministry of Health teams on ground line-listed up to 55 contacts for follow-up.

“13 of these have completed the 21-day follow-up from the time of death of the probable case, while the other 42 remain under close monitoring,” she stated

The first case was detected on 17 October. The 50-year-old woman died at a health centre of fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea on 11 October. Laboratory testing at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) confirmed the cause of death as MVD.

According to reliable sources, the woman’s brother had also died of similar symptoms three weeks earlier and was buried at a traditional funeral. He worked as a game hunter and lived near a cave inhabited by Rousettus bats, which are natural hosts of the Marburg virus.

“A Rapid Response Team comprising of highly experienced Epidemiologists, Risk Communication experts, Case Management, Infection Control and Prevention experts, ecological environmental experts, Laboratory specialists, among others were deployed in Kween and Kapchorwa districts,” a statement from Ministry of Health issued Sunday reads.

“The team is supporting District Rapid Response Teams to investigate and assess the magnitude of the threat and to institute appropriate control measures to avert the Marburg Virus Disease threat. An isolation ward at the Kapchorwa District Hospital and Kaproron Health Center IV in Kween District have been established to handle cases. This however remains vacant, as there are no new suspected cases registered for now,” it continues.

“Training of all health workers, particularly from Kapchorwa Hospital, and Kaproron Health Centre IV is ongoing, on Viral Haemoorhagic Fever (VHF). We would like to assure the general public that Uganda has the capacity to effectively handle the Marburg outbreak. The Ministry of Health therefore calls upon the population to remain calm but be on alert amidst this epidemic,” it adds.

About the Marburg Virus

Marburg Virus is a form of Filovirus, the group of Bat-infecting RNA Viruses that also includes Ebola. It takes its name from the German city of Marburg, where the first outbreak was recorded in 1967, among workers that had been exposed to infected Monkey tissue, seven of whom died. Despite this European discovery, the Virus is now recognised as being endemic to tropical Africa, where it occasionally spreads from its usual Bat hosts to Human or other Primate hosts, resulting in short-lived but extremely lethal outbreaks.



Ministry of Health- Uganda

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