Eight contacts added to Marburg virus surveillance in Uganda

Eight additional people who had contact with an individual confirmed to have the Marburg virus are under surveillance, the Ugandan Ministry said on Oct. 6.

The subjects are to be quarantined as a preventative measure until they can be cleared of infection. A surveillance team has been able to list 17 additional individuals to be put under surveillance, bringing the total to 97 possible contacts. At this time there as only been one laboratory confirmed case of Marburg in Uganda, which resulted in the patient's death.

With aid from Medicens San Frontiers and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Uganda has trained 103 health workers in prevention, treatment and control. Isolation facilities have opened in area hospitals to prepare against a potential outbreak.

The Marburg virus is in the same family of hemorrhagic fevers as the Ebola virus; both are classified as Category A Bioterrorism Agents by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This category also includes Anthrax and Smallpox. Category A agents can easily be spread, has a high mortality rate, are able to cause panic and/or require special public health preparedness.