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WHO tracking latest Marburg, Ebola outbreaks in Uganda

Ebola virus

Ebola and related Marburg hemorrhagic fever has infected dozens of people in Uganda in the last few weeks, claiming 14 lives in the country since an earlier outbreak of Ebola was contained last summer.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently tracking outbreaks of the diseases in five districts in the African nation.

The organization said on Nov. 23 that it has recorded 20 probable or confirmed cases of Marburg, including nine deaths in four districts, including  Kabale, Ibanda, Mbarara, and Kampala.

The last confirmed case of Marburg, which is related to Ebola, was hospitalized on Oct. 31, it said.

Uganda’s Ministry of Health, said the WHO, continues to conduct active surveillance and investigation on all cases in the four affected districts and close contacts of the cases are being followed-up for a period of 21 days.

WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Uganda Red Cross (URCS), African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), Plan Uganda and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are supporting the national authorities in the investigation and response to the outbreak, said the organization. Experts have been deployed through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) to strengthen the field team, it said.

Health professionals in the country are receiving training on infection prevention and control (IPC) and on field information management. Social mobilization activities are being conducted to raise awareness on prevention and control of the disease.

Much the same response has been implemented for the latest outbreak of Ebola in the country, according to the WHO. The latest Ebola outbreak has killed five people in Luweero and Kampala, said the organization. As of Nov. 23, Uganda’s Ministry of Health reported 10 cases, with six confirmed and four probable, including the deaths, said the WHO.

The last confirmed case of Ebola was hospitalized on Nov. 17, it said.

An outbreak in July of a different strain of Ebola ultimately claimed 16 lives, but reports said that outbreak was of the Congo variety of the disease. Officials in the country have said the most recent outbreak is of the Sudan variety.

Uganda had declared itself free of the disease in October after the summer outbreak had been cleared.

The WHO hasn’t recommended any travel or trade restriction be applied to Uganda in the wake of the outbreaks however.