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July 13, 2008

World Health Organization: Stay away from Ugandan caves

World Health Organization: Stay away from Ugandan caves

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

An electron micrograph of the Marburg virus.
Image: CDC.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has told people to stay away from Ugandan caves with bats, due to the fact that a tourist visiting Uganda was recently killed by the fatal Marburg virus. Health authorities in the Netherlands said that the forty-year-old tourist contracted the disease from fruit bats in a cave.

A spokesperson for WHO said that “it is an isolated case of imported Marburg.” He continued, “people should not think about amending their travel plans to Uganda but should not go into caves with bats.”

An Egyptian fruit bat
Image: Adrian Pingstone.

The Health Ministry of Uganda advised people who have to enter caves in Uganda that they should exercise “maximum precaution not to get into close contact with the bats and non-human primates in the nearby forests”.

Marburg virus causes Marburg hemorrhagic fever, which is related to Ebola. It is believed that humans first caught the virus from Egyptian fruit bats.

The first Ugandan case of the virus occurred approximately a year ago; it involved a 29-year-old man who became symptomatic on July 4 and died on July 14. A co-worker of the man had previously suffered from a similar disease, although he survived.

The Soviet Union also reportedly prepared Marburg virus samples for use as a biological weapon in the time of war.


Sources

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May 20, 2005

Marburg virus outbreak in Angola claims over 300 lives

Marburg virus outbreak in Angola claims over 300 lives

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Marburg virus

Friday, May 20, 2005

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Wednesday that an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic fever, caused by Marburg virus, in Angola has claimed the lives of 311 Angolans. The outburst can be traced back to October 2004. The great majority of cases have originated in Uige Province. WHO estimates that 75% of the cases have occurred in children under the age of 5 years old.

Marburg virus growth rate in Angola

From the WHO:

‘Marburg virus disease has no vaccine or curative treatment, and can be rapidly fatal. In the present outbreak, most deaths have occurred between 3 to 7 days following the onset of symptoms. Past outbreaks indicate that close contact with bodily fluids of infected people, as may occur in health care settings or during burial practices, increases the risk of infection.’

This is the largest recorded outbreak of Marburg viral hemorrhagic fever in history.

The risk to international travelers is low, according to the WHO, because the disease requires close personal contact to be transmitted.

Sources

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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