NEWS

Uganda confirms Marburg hemorrhagic fever, which manifests like Ebola, killed a health worker

10/06/2014 11:23 EDT | Updated 12/06/2014 05:59 EST
KAMPALA, Uganda - A Ugandan health worker recently died of Marburg, a highly infectious disease that manifests as a viral hemorrhagic fever, Uganda's Ministry of Health confirmed Monday as health workers moved to quarantine a total of 80 people who had been in contact with the victim.

Further tests Monday would prove whether another man who appeared to be having a hemorrhagic 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 diarrhea and vomited blood before he died on Sept. 28.

Uganda has a history of hemorrhagic 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.

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