WHO issues no travel restrictions to Uganda despite Marburg case

The World Health Organization is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions in Uganda despite a confirmed case of the highly fatal Marburg virus disease reported in Kampala on Oct. 5.

Marburg is a virus from the same family as Ebola. It is transmitted to humans via infected animals and bat feces.

The confirmed case was a health care worker who developed the disease on Sept. 11. The patient was treated at Mpigi District Health Center on Sept. 17 and transferred to Mengo Hospital on Sept. 23 with initial symptoms of fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. 

The patient, who died on Sept. 28, had no reported history of travel beyond Mpigi, no contact with a person with similar symptoms and had not eaten bush meat or had contact with bats in the last four weeks.

A total of 146 contacts of the initial patient have been identified and are being monitored, but none have tested positive for the disease. The Ministry of Health of Uganda has activated a National Task Force, which is meeting regularly to be prepared for what may lie ahead. WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are assisting Ugandan authorities with emergency response and preparedness training.

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