Cases of Marburg, Ebola climb in Uganda

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Nov 26, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – An outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever has grown to 20 cases in western Uganda, and 10 people in two of Uganda's central districts have contracted Ebola hemorrhagic fever, the World Health Organization (WHO) said recently.

The Marburg outbreak that began in the middle of October has sickened two more patients since the WHO's last update on Oct 31. No new deaths from the disease have been reported, keeping the number of fatalities so far at nine, the WHO said on Nov 23.

Infections have been detected in four districts, Kabale, Ibanda, Mbarara, and Kampala. The WHO said the last confirmed case-patient was hospitalized on Oct 31. The agency added that Uganda's health ministry is still investigating all of the cases and monitoring the patients' close contacts for 21 days.

International partners, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are assisting with the investigations and outbreak response, and health professionals are receiving training on infection prevention, disease control, and field management, according to the WHO.

Meanwhile, the number of infections in a new Ebola outbreak has grown by six since the WHO's initial announcement on Nov 17. Six of the cases are confirmed and four are probable, the agency said in a Nov 23 update. Five deaths have been reported, up from three in the first announcement.

Patients sickened in the outbreak are from Luweero and Kampala districts. The outbreak involves the Sudan strain of Ebola, the same type that was implicated in a 24-case outbreak over the summer that occurred in the western part of the country.

The last confirmed case-patient was hospitalized on Nov 17, and authorities are identifying close contacts and monitoring them for 21 days, according to the WHO. International partners are assisting with a host of response efforts.

In other Ebola developments, an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that started in August appears to be over, according to the country's health minister Felix Kabange Numbi, Agence-France Presse (AFP) reported today. The outbreak targeted Orientale province, located in the northeastern part of the country, and sickened 62 people.

The WHO's last update on the DRC's Ebola outbreak, dated Oct 26, said 52 cases and 25 deaths had been linked to the outbreak. The outbreak involved the Bundibugyo strain, which is different than the one that has caused Uganda's recent outbreaks.

See also:

Nov 23 WHO Marburg outbreak update

Nov 23 WHO Ebola outbreak update

Nov 26 AFP story

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