Uganda’s Ministry of Health has confirmed the outbreak of the Marburg virus, a disease clinically similar to and part of the same Filoviridae family as Ebola, as reported by the Independent
Uganda’s Ministry of Health has confirmed the outbreak of the Marburg virus, a disease clinically similar to and part of the same Filoviridae family as Ebola, as reported by the Independent.
The disease causes severe viral haemorrhagic fever, including bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea, and can be fatal.
According to the World Health Organisation, mortality rates are around 50%.
Five cases have been reported in Uganda’s Kween district, which borders Kenya, with two cases confirmed, one probable case and two suspected cases.
CNN has reported that three people, all related, have died.
The Marburg virus’ incubation period is 21 days, and haemorrhaging begins between 5 and 7 days after the fever begins.
There is no licensed treatment but the chances of survival improve with early treatment of symptoms.
Infection in humans comes from long-term exposure to mines or caves inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies, and the virus is then transmitted between humans via direct contact with infected bodily fluids.
Uganda’s first reported case of Marburg, reported in September, 2017 was a man who lived near a bat-inhabited cave and worked as a game hunter.
He and his sister, who nursed him when he fell ill, both died after exhibiting similar symptoms of fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Laboratory tests at the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe confirmed the Marburg virus was the cause of death in both cases.
Ugandan health authorities and WHO are now working together to contain the outbreak.
Marburg virus is named after the German town in which an outbreak was first detected in 1967, with two other large outbreaks occurring at the same time in Frankfurt and the Serbian capital Belgrade.
All outbreaks were traced back to laboratory work that had been undertaken on African green monkeys.
Marburg and Ebola are caused by two different viruses, but both are rare and can cause large outbreaks with high fatality rates, as seen in the Ebola outbreak in 2014 which killed over 11,000 people across West Africa.
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