Another Marburg Virus Outbreak Reported In Uganda

Posted October 21, 2012 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Health ~ 2,941 views


By Robert Muhereza — Sunday, October 21 2012

New case. One more death reported in Kabale as health officials monitor another confirmed case who crossed to Rukungiri, seeking help from preachers. The death toll from an outbreak of the Marburg virus, a rare and highly contagious form of hemorrhagic fever closely related to the Ebola, has risen to five in just four days, with a new suspected case registered Friday night.

Nathan Biryamurabaho 50, a resident of Bukora Kitumba Sub-county, was the fifth person to die of the virus that was confirmed on Friday in the south-western district of Kabale by the Ministry of Health. The developments come 16 days after Uganda was declared Ebola free.

The Kabale Regional Referral Hospital Director, Dr Placid Mihayo, said the patient died a few hours after he had been referred from Rugarama Hospital when his condition worsened.

The victim is a relative to the family that lost four people in the same sub-county who tested positive to the Marburg virus. “The deceased died at our isolated ward. The symptoms are exactly similar to those of his relatives who died on Thursday at this hospital. We need experts from the Ministry to demonstrate how to handle this emergency scare so that our members of staff can learn from them,” Dr Mihayo said.

The Kabale District Health Officer, Dr Patrick Tusiime, said the relatives of the deceased sneaked the body out of the hospital after the medical team abandoned them.  “We are planning to go to the residence of the deceased and pick the body for postmortem. Such handling of suspected Marburg case should stop because the virus shall spread very fast to other people,” Dr Tusiime said.

October deaths – Another four people who have died since October 4 were also suspected to have been killed by the disease, the Health ministry said in a statement. “Preliminary reports from the district indicate that four other people had allegedly died of a strange disease since October 4th,” said a press statement issues by Health ministry.

Dr Tusiime said another confirmed victim of the highly-infectious viral hemorrhagic fever only identified as Obed had crossed into Rukungiri District. Obed is said to be seeking healing from religious leaders as he claims to have been bewitched. He escaped from the health facility on Wednesday.

“The results from the Uganda Virus Research Institute clearly show that this man is Marburg positive. We have located where he is and we have liaised with our health counterparts in Rukungiri to monitor him from there,” Dr Tusiime said.

Despite the availability of protective gears and first aid treatment, fear has gripped the medical workers who are now abandoning the hospital.

“Last evening (Friday), when health officials learnt that the victims who passed away had similar symptoms as those of the four confirmed cases who had died earlier, they run away because they are scared of the disease,” said Dr Tusiime.

The hospital has now requested for experts from the Ministry of Health to handle the patients. A team of health officials have already been dispatched to the district to support both clinical and public health investigations. Also a National Taskforce has reactivated its rapid response committees to quickly act on any emergencies.

Efforts are also underway to trace and list all possible contacts that were exposed to the suspects and confirmed cases. The Ministry of Health urges the general public to report any suspected patient to a nearby health unit and avoid public gatherings or direct contact with body fluids of a person suffering from Marburg by using gloves and masks.
The last outbreak of Marburg in Uganda came in 2007 and killed two miners in the district.

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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