Marburg Outbreak Hits Eastern Uganda

The latest place to be hit hard with an outbreak of Marburg fever is eastern Uganda. Currently they’ve sought aid from the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) who are intervening and giving support to the local health providers and organisations. The Marburg hemorrhagic fever has hit the nation hard and its inhabitants are working tirelessly in the prevention and protection of it’s citizens to ensure the situation does not get any worse.

Kapchorwa hospital has, sadly, already been faced with two fatalities since the original outbreak. This happened on the 25th of September and the 13th of October. Since this, on the 26th of October there was another death reported from a treatment unit in the Kween health centre. The news has been tragic for many friends, families and the communities as a whole and it seems regardless of where people are being treated and who they’re treated by, the Marburg fever is spreading even faster than before.

The Medecins Sans Frontieres are focusing their efforts in overall case management as well as mapping out and tracing the Marburg fever. Already, the MSF have managed to facilitate a 10 bedroom treatment clinic in Kween for anyone who has been in contact with the fever and identified cases. Currently health specialists and professionals are equating the Marburg fever to the Ebola virus. Neither have been given a vaccine that is approved and as far as we are currently aware the initial symptoms are very vague and offer little room for early diagnosis.

What is the Marburg Virus?

The Ministry of Health officially announced the outbreak of Marburg virus back on the 19th of October. This quickly alerted the world to the importance of this crisis In 90% of officially diagnosed cases, the Marburg virus can be fatal. The World Health Organization have themselves ranked the Marburg viral disease in amongst one of the most virulent pathogens of any human infection. The Marburg virus causes severe viral hemorrhagic fever and is extremely contagious, especially in less well developed areas.

The symptoms can include fevers, general fatigue and headaches. Dr Amesh Adalja who works for the DSA (Disease Society of America) quotes “Marburg is a virus that is in the same family as Ebola, and it basically has very similar characteristics… It spreads in blood and body fluids and thrives in areas in which people are not able to do effective infection control.”

The WHO’s response

Also working with the Ugandan authorities is the organization The WHO. The WHO are trying their best to contain the outbreak so it will never eventually become a worldwide scare as Ebola did. Their rapid response team reacted quickly to news of what was going on and reached the epicentre of the epidemic within 48 hrs. The national and district authorities can do nothing but praise the organisation for their ongoing support in handling and help preventing the Marburg outbreak.

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