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Kenya quarantines suspected Marburg case from Uganda

By Tom Mugisha,

KAMPALA –  A Ugandan suspected to be a Marburg patient was on Tuesday put on quarantine in Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya for suspected Marburg infection.

He had crossed into the Kenya seeking medical intervention at Bwayi village in Kaisagat, Kwanza when medical personnel suspected he might be suffering from the viral infection.

Daily Nation quoted health workers that samples from the patient had been taken to the Kenya Medical Research Institute for testing. The results are expected were expected on Tuesday.

Gilbert Sowon, the County Director of Preventive and Promotive Health Services, Kenya would enforce strict surveillance at the border with Uganda if the tests confirm Marburg infection.

So far, six cases have been reported in the Kapchorwa region in eastern Uganda with two deaths.

Kitale County Hospital Medical Superintendent, Dr Emmanuel Wanjala, said the patient is suspected to have crossed into the country through at Suam, one of the many porous border crossings on the Kenya-Uganda boundary line.

“We are now screening those who might have come into contact with the patient,” said Dr Wanjala.

Marburg virus disease is a severe and highly fatal disease caused by the Marburg virus from the Filoviridae family; the same family as the Ebola virus. This virus is among the most virulent pathogens known to infect humans. The incubation period is two to 21 days, and symptom onset is sudden and marked by fever, chills, headache, and myalgia.

Although the disease is rare, it can result in large outbreaks with high case fatality rates. The disease is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons or wild animals, including monkeys and fruit bats.

The World Health Organisation, while confirming the outbreak in eastern Uganda, says it is aware of at least one fatality, but several hundred people may have been exposed to the virus at health facilities and at traditional burial ceremonies in Kween District, a mountainous area 300 kilometres northeast of Kampala.

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