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Marburg outbreak: Three cases, three deaths in Uganda, ‘appears to be under control’

In an update on the Marburg virus disease (MVD) outbreak in Uganda, the World Health Organization reports that the outbreak remains at three cases (two confirmed and one probable), all of whom have died, resulting in an overall case fatality rate of 100% and appears to be under control.

Marburg virus/Frederick Murphy

All three cases were epidemiologically linked and come from one family.

Previous suspected cases reported earlier have been discarded as non-cases following investigation.  By 1 November 2017, 135 contacts were under follow-up (115 in Kween and 22 in Kapchorwa). Seventy nine contacts have completed the 21-days follow-up period.

In Kenya, three high-risk contacts are being monitored. These contacts were potentially exposed to the second confirmed case, who reportedly visited his family (wife and daughter) and a traditional healer in Kenya before being admitted to a treatment centre in Kween, Uganda, where he died on 25 October 2017.

Outbreak control interventions are ongoing in both countries, including contact tracing activities. The hostility previously exhibited by some communities in Uganda has ceased, following engagement of and dialogue with the local community by the national authorities and political leaders.

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While Uganda has extensive experience in dealing with recurring MVD outbreaks, Kenya has not experienced an outbreak since the 1980s. Assessments carried out at operational level identified some gaps that require urgent attention. The need to reorient healthcare workers on viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) case management, infection prevention and control and surveillance was highlighted. The ongoing industrial action by nurses may also impact on the preparedness and response measures, as well as coordination of several departments and stakeholders locally.

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