First Case of Marburg Virus Disease in Uganda is Reported to WHO

On Oct. 5, 2014, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Uganda notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of a confirmed case of Marburg virus disease (MVD) in Kampala, Uganda.

The confirmed case was a healthcare worker who had onset of disease on Sept. 11, 2014 while working at Mengo Hospital, Kampala. The case presented to Mpigi District Health Center on Sept. 17, 2014, and transferred to Mengo Hospital, Kampala, on Sept. 23, 2014. On admission the case presented with symptoms including fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea and died on Sept. 28, 2014.

The case reported no history of travel beyond Mpigi, no contact with a person with similar illness. He had not eaten bush meat nor had had contact with bats in the last four weeks.

A preliminary result indicating the specimen taken from the patient was positive for Marburg virus disease was received on Oct. 3, 2014, and further confirmed on Oct. 4, 2014 by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI).

As of today, a total of 146 contacts have been identified and are being monitored for signs and symptoms compatible with MVD. Eleven of the contacts developed signs and symptoms compatible with Marburg virus disease. All samples from symptomatic contacts have tested negative so far. Second samples have been taken from them and are being tested at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI). One contact, Kenyan mortician who travelled back to Kenya, developed a fever and cough but tested negative for both Marburg and Ebola virus. The contact in Kenya continues to be followed up by the Kenyan Rapid Response Team.

The Ministry of Health of Uganda has activated the National Task Force which is meeting regularly and sub-committees have been established.

WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC) are supporting the national Ugandan authorities in the investigation and response operations including, enhancements and establishment of isolation and treatment units; prepositioning personal protective equipment (PPE), and training health workers on infection control and prevention, as well as in case management and social mobilization.

Four multi-disciplinary teams have been deployed to perform an in-depth risk assessment. Surveillance and contact tracing, and follow-up activities are currently being implemented in Kampala, Mpigi and Kasese.

Marburg virus disease is a severe and highly fatal disease caused by a virus from the same family as the one that causes Ebola virus disease. Both viruses can cause large outbreaks such as the ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa. The last outbreak of MVD in Uganda occurred in 2012 during which 20 cases, including nine fatal cases were reported from Kabale District, Kampala, Ibanda, Mbarara, and Kabarole.

WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on Uganda based on the current information available on this outbreak.

Source: WHO