The World Health Organisation(WHO) has declared Uganda free of Marburg virus disease. This is after it gave Uganda 42 days of incubation since the last confirmed case.
According to WHO’’s requirement for declaring an end to an outbreak of any Viral Haemorrhagic Fever (VHF), Uganda had to complete at least 42 days of the post Marburg Virus Disease surveillance countdown period for the contacts of the last confirmed case.
“Today, marks 42 days since the death of the last confirmed case which occurred on 26th October 2017. MOH is therefore pleased to officially declare the country free from the Marburg Viral Disease,” State minister for health in charge of general duties, Sarah Opendi said.
Sarah Opendi also said since the declaration of Marburg outbreak in Kween and Kapochorwa Districts, in Eastern Uganda on 19th October, 3 people have died , all from the same family .
The state minister for health Sarah Opendi urged the public to reduce human blood transmission and swapping of saliva with suspected persons. she further asked the citizens to visit health centres as soon as they fall ill to prevent such epidemic diseases that can easily spread.
The WHO country representative Dr. Abdoulie Dodou Jack said, for the past 6 weeks, interventions were coordinated targeting the 2 districts in order to halt the disease in the shortest time period.
“I thank the ministry of health for taking decisive and effective measures to control the outbreak.”
Since then, various organisations have joined the ministry of health to stop further outbreak.
During the struggle to combat Marburg, 311 people were followed , 230 from Kween and 81 from Kapchorwa .
According to Opendi , 18 developed symptoms , samples were taken and all tested negative.
Government spent Shs3.5 billion on the outbreak of the epidemic disease Marburg.
“The money was used on fuel , social mobilisation and equipment used by medical officers,” Opendi said .
According to sources, one who contacted Marburg had gone bat hunting. Opendi engaged with various cultural leaders to caution them about the risk that could result from eating bats .
“Why should someone go to hunt bats when we have domestic animals such as ducks, hens, pigs among others? The Marburg disease comes from the bats, so let us reduce contact with bats,” she cautioned.
Marburg virus disease outbreaks have been documented during;
2007 – 4 cases, including 2 deaths in Ibanda District , Western Uganda
2008 – 2 unrelated cases in travellers to the Netherlands and USA respectively after visiting caves in western Uganda
2012 – 15 cases, including 4 deaths in Ibanda and Kabale districts, Western Uganda
2014 – 1 case in health care professional from Mpigi district, Central Uganda .
2017 – 3 dead from Kween and Kapochorwa Districts, Eastern Uganda.