WHO says one more Marburg case found in Uganda

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Editor's note: This story was revised Aug 16 to include a clarification from the World Health Organization about the identity of the index case-patient.

Aug 15, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Only one additional case of Marburg hemorrhagic fever has been confirmed in Uganda since a single case and some suspected cases were reported there on Aug 3, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday.

Tests at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "have confirmed Marburg virus infection in the putative index case, a mine worker, and in one of his close contacts during his illness," the WHO said in a statement.

In its Aug 3 statement, the WHO had said that a 29-year-old miner who died Jul 14 had the deadly virus. The agency said the man had helped care for a 21-year-old miner who had fallen ill with similar symptoms in late June but had recovered.

The presumed index case mentioned in yesterday's statement was that of the 21-year-old miner who recovered, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told CIDRAP News.

Contacts of the case-patients have been monitored and were "coming to the end of the period of their observation," with no further cases detected, the WHO said. The earlier statement indicated all the suspected cases were in miners.

To contain the outbreak, the agency said, an international team including experts from the WHO and several other organizations is working with the Ugandan health ministry to strengthen surveillance, contact tracing, infection control, logistics, and social mobilization.

In addition, experts from the CDC, the WHO, and the Ugandan government are working to identify the virus's natural hosts and mode of transmission, with particular emphasis on the mines and surrounding area, the WHO said.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Marburg, a viral hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola fever. In an outbreak in Angola in 2004 and 2005, 227 of 252 patients died.

See also:

Aug 14 WHO statement

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