Ebola, enterovirus-68 and now Marburg. A new deadly virus is making headlines after a fatal case of Marburg hemorrhagic fever was diagnosed in Uganda and dozens of people were put under quarantine. Most of the people being closely watched for symptons are health workers after a 30-year-old health worker died of Marburg last month.
"As of today, a total of 99 contacts are under follow up. All the contacts are still in a healthy condition," Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, director general for health services in Uganda, said in the latest update on the outbreak on Tuesday, according to CNN. "The National Taskforce through the field epidemiologists and surveillance officers continues to closely monitor all people who got into contact with this confirmed case."
Uganda's Ministry of Health said Tuesday in an emailed statement that testing on 11 potential cases of Marburg came back negative, including that of the victim's brother, according to the Washington Post. So what exactly is Marburg? The virus was first identified in 1967, when 31 people became ill in Germany and Yugoslavia. The outbreak was eventually traced back to laboratory monkeys imported from Uganda. There are a dozen outbreaks on record, with many involving a single patient.
Marburg looks a lot like Ebola. Both begin with fever and weakness and can lead to bleeding, organ failure and death. There's no cure for either virus.
The death rate has reached 80 percent in previous Marburg outbreaks. The most recent outbreak also occurred in Uganda. It killed four out of 15 patients in 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have also been outbreaks in Angola, Russia and Kenya since 1980.
Marburg patients tend to develop severe haemorrhagic manifestations between days 5 and 7, according to the World Health Organization. "The Marburg virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons. Transmission of the Marburg virus also occurred by handling ill or dead infected wild animals (monkeys, fruit bats). The predominant treatment is general supportive therapy," the health organization said.