Who Says Uganda Marburg-Free

The Ministry of Health last week declared the country free of the Marburg virus.

The declaration comes after completion of 42 days of the post-Marburg Surveillance Countdown period which was a prerequisite of the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO requires the affected country to monitor the situation of any viral hemorrhagic fever for that period before finally declaring the end of the outbreak.

The index case was a 30 year old male radiographer who originally was working at an upcountry health centre, but had been recruited by a Kampala hospital two months before his death.

The epidemic outbreak was declared on October 4th, following laboratory tests done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) which confirmed a health worker had died of the viral hemorrhagic fever.

Addressing a news conference last week, a state minister for primary health are Sarah Achieng Opendi said, “The Ministry of Health informs the general public that since the 4th of October 2014, there have been no Marburg cases reported in the country. This implies that the outbreak in the country has been controlled completely.”

She said during the period of the outbreak, a total of 197 people were followed up for three weeks in Kampala, Mpigi and Kasese districts. These are people who were in contact with the confirmed case during his sickness and eventual death.

Opendi said “During this time, eight of these contacts developed symptoms similar to those of Marburg, however, their results tested negative for the Viral Hemorrhagic fever at the UVRI.”

She said that by October 20th, all contacts had completed their 21 days of monitoring and apart from the 8 who required laboratory investigation and tested negative, the rest did not develop symptoms which confirms none contracted the virus.

“An additional 21 days of surveillance was carried out to make 42 days as a requirement for management and control of viral hemorrhagic fevers.” she said.

However, she cautioned the public to reduce the risks of wildlife to human transmission by avoiding contact with fruit bats, reduce the risk of human-human transmission in the community in case of suspected cases reported by avoiding direct or close contact with suspected patients. “Uganda has become prone to these viruses because many people have migrated as a result of population increase to forest areas where these bats and monkeys stay. The consumption of this kind of meat is on the rise. Therefore the ministry cautions Ugandans against consumption so that such outbreaks can be contained.” Opendi said.

Source : East African Business Week

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