(Health News) Uganda is in the middle of a health care crisis as the deadly Marburg virus has once again hit the African nation. Health chiefs have announced that the virus, which is clinically similar to the Ebola virus, has been detected in five cases. The reports note that an emergency Marburg virus screening is being carried out at the Kenya-Uganda border in Turkana, where three members of the same family died of the disease.
Reports have detailed that the outbreak first started back in September when an adult male in his 30s, who used to work as a game hunter and resided near a cave with a heavy bat colony, had been admitted to a local health center after falling ill with high fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. According to reports, the man did not respond to antimalarial treatment and his health quickly deteriorated. The man was taken to another hospital but passed away shortly. The man’s middle-aged sister and a third victim had also subsequently passed away.
“Marburg virus disease is a rare disease with a high mortality rate for which there is no specific treatment. The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids, and tissues of infected persons or wild animals (e.g. monkeys and fruit bats),” according to a disease entry posted on the World Health Organization (WHO) website. Health experts note that the deadly virus kills up to 88 percent of people it infects and is currently considered as one of the most deadly pathogens to date.
However, key health officials remain uncertain about the range of the fatal outbreak. (Related: Black Death and incurable Marburg Virus now spreading across Africa’s cities… world’s medical system helpless to stop it.)
“At moment we don’t know if there are other people apart from the dead who have contracted the disease. Health experts are still investigating in addition to sensitising the population about the dangers of Marburg and we call for public vigilance,” says Dr. Diana Atwine, Uganda’s health ministry permanent secretary.
WHO recommends steps to cut the risk of contracting marburg virus
In line with the recent Marburg virus outbreak in Uganda, the WHO has listed key pointers in preventing the onset and transmission of the disease. These tips include:
- Keeping the public well informed — According to the WHO, communities affected by the outbreak should keep the general population informed about the nature of the disease in order to prevent the onset of community stigmatization. Likewise, the health organization suggests that people presenting symptoms of the disease be taken to treatment facilities immediately. The organization also highlights the importance of following outbreak containment guidelines. As per the WHO, people who have died of the disease should be promptly buried.
- Wearing protective clothing and equipment — The WHO encourages people to wear gloves and other appropriate protective clothing such as masks during work or research activities and tourist visit to mines or caves where fruit bat colonies roost in order to reduce the risk of bat-to-human transmission.
- Avoiding direct contact — The health organization also discourages healthy, unaffected people from having direct contact with infected patients to prevent the onset of human-to-human transition within the community. The WHO also suggests wearing gloves and protective clothing when attending to the needs of infected patients. Moreover, the WHO advises that routine hand washing should be practiced after visiting sick relatives and when taking care of infected family members at home.
Find more news on the plague and other outbreaks at Plague.info.