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Uganda confirms Marburg fever recently killed man

Published:Tuesday | October 7, 2014 | 10:00 AM

KAMPALA, (AP): A Ugandan health worker recently died of Marburg, a highly infectious disease that manifests as a viral haemorrhagic fever, Uganda's Ministry of Health confirmed yesterday as health workers moved to quarantine a total of 80 people who had been in contact with the victim.

Further tests yesterday would prove whether another man who appeared to be having a haemorrhagic fever actually has Marburg, which belongs in the same family as the dreaded Ebola virus, said Dr Issa Makumbi, an epidemiologist with Uganda's Ministry of Health.

The 80 Marburg contacts were being "vigorously" monitored for signs and symptoms of the disease after tests confirmed that a 30-year-old man who worked as a radiographer in a Kampala hospital died of Marburg, he said. The man had a headache and abdominal pains. He also had diarrhoea and vomited blood before he died on September 28.

Uganda has a history of haemorrhagic fevers, including an outbreak of Ebola in 2000 that killed at least 224 people over several weeks. Later outbreaks were successfully contained within days and killed far fewer people.

Ugandan health officials say they can contain the current outbreak of Marburg, for which there is no vaccine or cure, by drawing on their past experience fighting Ebola.

President Yoweri Museveni urged Ugandans to remain "calm but vigilant," to avoid shaking hands, and to report "suspicious cases" of Marburg.