A deadly virus known as the Marbourg has spread in the capital city of Uganda Kampala after a woman travelling to the city has been infected.
About five person have been recorded death on Monday of the desease says health officials.
“We have one case confirmed in Mulago Hospital while the number of the dead is now five,” Rukia Nakamatte, spokesperson for the ministry of health told Reuters on Monday. According to her thirty four people have contacted the illness and are being monitored where an isolation facility is being set up. No vaccine or specific treatment has yet been discovered for the Marburg virus. Marburg virus also known as the Marburg haemorrhagic fever is transmitted through bodily fluids such as saliva and blood, or by handling infected wild animals such as monkeys.
Health investigators have yet to determine the origin of the latest Marburg infection but Uganda’s director general of health services, Dr Ruth Aceng, said on Friday that outbreaks of haemorrhagic fevers in Uganda tend to occur between June and September. This is the period when villagers who go into the wild to collect fruit are likely to come into contact with wild animals such as fruit bats, a natural vector for the Marbug virus. The latest outbreak of another haemorrhagic fever was first confirmed on Friday in Kabale district, 430km southwest of Kampala. Two weeks ago that side of the country has declared itself free of Ebola after it claimed at least 16 lives. Elly Matte, a police spokesperson in Kabale, says people have been alarmed about the viral outbreak. They are planning to impose quarantine if the situation worsens.
Ugandan Health officials, as preventative measures, have urged people to avoid public gatherings and bodily contact. The World Health Organization has deployed a team to the district to support the outbreak investigation and response. The last outbreak of Marburg in Uganda was in 2007 which killed two miners in the west while the deadliest occurrence of hemorrhagic fever was in 2000 when some 425 people contracted Ebola, leading to the death of more than half of them. Marburg, from the same family of viruses as Ebola, starts with a severe headache followed by hemorrhaging. In previous outbreaks in Africa, usually within eight to nine days 80% of death cases or more are recorded. Although both viruses are highly contagious and have high case fatalities, Marburg has a shorter incubation period of 14 days, compared to Ebola’s 21.