Ebola-Like Virus Breaks Out In Uganda

Jayson Beck

Journalist

Marburg virus disease – also known as the MVD for short – has an 88% mortality rate, is described as "clinically similar" to Ebola... and it's breaking out in Uganda. International aid agencies have already deployed to teams and have identified five cases already. Meanwhile, Madagascar is experiencing the worst outbreak of plague in 50 years and is reaching a crisis point.

MVD is from the same virus family as the Ebola hemorrhagic fever that killed 11,000 in West Africa in 2014 and 2015. The virus spreads from bites of fruit bats or monkeys, as well as human contact via semen and blood.

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MVD also spreads by contact with contaminated clothing and bedsheets. The disease causes severe bleeding, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. It has a 21-day incubation period and is untreatable

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Two people - brother and sister - have reportedly died in the Kween district next to the Kenyan border. Dr Diana Atwine, Uganda's health ministry permanent secretary, confirmed that blood tests indicated MVD as cause of death.

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Suspicions have been raised that the 50-year-old woman contracted the virus during burial preparation rituals for her brother.

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The local health officials are looking for her other brother who showed symptoms of MVD, but refused to go to a hospital and vanished.

The virus spreads from bites of fruit bats on monkeys.

"At the moment we don't know if there are other people apart from the dead who have contracted the disease," Dr Atwine said last week. "Health experts are still investigating in addition to sensitising the population about the dangers of Marburg and we call for public vigilance."

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