Marburg kills one health worker, 80 under close watch - ministry

Sunday October 05 2014
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Health officials bury a Marburg victim last year. FILE PHOTO


The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation yesterday confirmed the outbreak of Marburg Viral fever in the country after one person died of the disease on September 28.
Laboratory test results done at Uganda Virus Research Institute confirmed that the 30-year old-man, a health worker at Mengo Hospital, died of Marburg.

The deceased man’s brother, who is also a health worker at the hospital, has also been quarantined at the facility after he presented with signs of the disease a few days after the first case was buried.

Samples have been taken to UVRI for further tests and the results are expected by midday.

According to the Acting Minister for Health, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the ministry has dispatched teams of epidemiologists to Mengo, Mpigi hospitals and Kasese District where the deceased was buried last month.

“We are tracing all the possible people that the deceased may have had contact with for close monitoring for at least 21 days. In the meantime, we call upon the public to remain alert and report any suspected cases,” Dr Elioda said.

According to a press statement issued by the ministry, the deceased, who originally worked at Mpigi Health Centre IV, had been recruited by Mengo Hospital two months ago as a radiographer.


“He started feeling unwell on September 17 while at Mengo Hospital and travelled back to Mpigi HCIV on September 18 to seek treatment since he felt more comfortable with a facility that he had worked with for a long time,” reads the statement.

He was treated at Mpigi Health Centre IV but when his condition worsened, he was transferred back to Mengo where he was admitted on September 23.

He presented with headache, bleeding from different body openings, abdominal pain, vomiting blood and diarrhoea.
He passed away on September 28 and his body was taken to Munkunyu village, Munkunyu Sub-county, Kasese for burial.

The minister said 80 people who got into contact with the initial confirmed case have been identified and isolated as a precautionary measure and for follow up for any signs and symptoms within the 21 days incubation period of the disease.
“They are currently being monitored by a team of epidemiologists from the Ministry of Health,” Dr Tumwesigye said while addressing the media yesterday in Kampala.

The WHO Country Representative, Dr Alemu Wondimagegnehu, said the public should not be frightened, necessary precautionary measures have been put in place to cantain the spread of the disease.
“There is no reason to panic. A team of experts has been put together to assess the situation where the deceased was treated,” Dr Wondimagegnehu said.

about marburg fever

Marburg Viral Haemorraghic fever is a fatal illness caused by the Marburg virus which belongs to the same family together with the Ebola virus.


The incubation period ranges from two to 21 days while the case fatality rate varies from 24 to 88 per cent. The Marburg 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 like blood, saliva, vomitus, stool and urine of an infected person.


A person suffering from Marburg presents with sudden onset of high fever with headache, vomiting blood, joint and muscle pains.

Bleeding through the body openings, i.e. eyes, nose, gums, ears, anus and the skin.

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