UGANDA: New Marburg fever case confirmed

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A case of Marburg haemorrhagic fever has been reported in western Uganda almost two months after an outbreak of the fever was contained, health officials said on 3 October.

"Our preliminary investigations suggest that a mine worker re-entered the [Kitaka gold] mine, which had earlier been closed before he contracted the disease," according to a statement by the Ugandan health ministry signed by the director-general of health services, Sam Zaramba.

The mine is in Kamwenge, 400km west of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"The case has been identified, isolated and confined in one of the health facilities in the country," the statement said.

Experts from the ministry were following up on anybody who could have had contact with the victim, according to the statement.

The health ministry also issued a directive, urging local medical officers to cooperate with security officials to quarantine the mine from the general public.

"The public should not panic as appropriate measures are being taken to avert any further spread of the disease," the statement said.

At least one person died and about 40 other people working at the Kitaka gold mine were quarantined after an outbreak of the fever in July.

Results of laboratory tests on blood samples from Kampala and Kamwenge performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, USA, have confirmed Marburg virus infection in the mine worker and in one of his close contacts during his illness.

The Marburg virus is a rare but highly fatal haemorrhagic illness with epidemic potential, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The symptoms include severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and chest and lung pains, often leading to severe haemorrhaging in the gastrointestinal tract and lungs.

Contact with bodily fluids of infected people increases the risk of infection.

Source: IRIN
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