Kagera takes swift actions to control Marburg spread

AUTHORITIES in Kagera Region have taken swift actions to control the spread of Marburgvirus disease after the Ministry of Health confirmed it in the area on Tuesday.

Since the disease was reported on Thursday last week, five people out of eight confirmed cases have died.

Kagera Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Issassenda Kaniki told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview  yesterday that the steps taken include setting up  special isolation rooms in  all health facilities for suspected patients.

“All the eight Councils of Muleba, Bukoba DC, Biharamulo, Ngara, Karagwe, Kyerwa, Missenyi and Bukoba MC have set up  special isolation rooms in all their health facilities for screening the suspects,” he said.

He explained that a case management team was working round the clock in collaboration with rapid response teams to ensure that the disease does not spread from Bulinda and Butahyaibega villages in Maruku and Kanyangereko Wards in Bukoba Rural District.

Dr Kaniki explained that the region had received sufficient medicines and equipment including ambulances.

However, he appealed to people to remain calm while necessary medical steps are being taken, adding that they should also be alert and report earlier to  the health facilities, when they experience or see any abnormal symptoms.

Elaborating, he said a team of medical experts was conducting public health awareness campaigns in the region for the public to take all necessary precautions.

Dr Kaniki said so far the number of patients who died from Marburg disease has remained five while, three more are admitted and progressing well.

On Tuesday, the Minister for Health,Ms Ummy Mwalimu said investigations carried out by the National Laboratory confirmed on the samples from the patients showed it is Marburgvirus disease.

She, however, said that there should be no cause for alarm as the disease is manageable and the government can contain it. The viral disease has far been contained from further spreading within the reported locality.

Ms Mwalimu said that there is no need to worry because the viral disease is not new.
It was reported several times in neighbouring Uganda in 2017, 2014,2012, and 2007, DRC from 1998 to
2000, America and Europe.

“There is no cause for alarm. We will collaborate with our neigbours to make sure that those who will be
detected with the disease are given timely treatment,” the minister insisted.
She called upon the public to take preventive measures and report individuals with symptoms including fever, headaches and severe bleeding in various open body parts.

Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and dysfunction of the kidney, she said noting that there is no specific treatment for Marburgvirus disease buy supportive hospital therapy is done on the symptoms.
“The Marburg virus is transmitted from one human to another
through direct contact with body flu-ids from infected persons or contact with equipment and other materials contaminated with infectious blood or tissues, infected blood and body fluids of infected people.

Infection can also occur from animals to human beings in the case a person eats or touches the corpses
of infected animals,” said Ms Mwalimu.

According to reports from theWorld Health Organisation (WHO)the disease was first confirmed inMarburg, Germany in 1967. At some point the disease has also been reported in various African and European countries.
Besides, she urged care takers and health attendants to effectively take preventive measures and health
infection prevention and control at all time.

Marburg virus disease (MVD) is a rare but severe hemorrhagic fever which affects both people and non-human primates. MVD is caused by the Marburg virus, a genetically unique zoonotic (or animal-borne) RNA virus of the filovirus family. The six species of Ebola virus are the only other known members of the filovirus family.

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