Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rwanda: Government on alert as Marburg Virus kills four in Uganda

October 22, 2012
Excerpts: Marburg is a killer disease caused by a virus and is spread through direct contact with wounds, body fluids like blood, saliva, vomitus, stool and urine of an infected person.

A person suffering from Marburg presents with sudden onset of high fever with any of the following; headache, vomiting blood, joint and muscle pains and bleeding through body openings such as eyes, nose, gums, ears and the skin. It is highly contagious and kills in a short time but can easily be prevented. Recovery can take 5 weeks or more, and is marked by prostration, weight loss, and amnesia for the period of acute illness. Complications during convalescence can include recurrent hepatitis, as well as inflammation of the spinal cord, bone marrow, eyes, testes, and parotid gland. Patients who are at greatest risk of dying experience diffuse or extensive hemorrhage into the skin, mucous membranes, internal organs, stomach, and intestines. Swelling of the spleen, lymph nodes, kidneys, sometimes pancreas, and especially brain occurs. Patients finally experience coma and convulsions, followed by death. Death from shock usually occurs 6-9 days after clinical onset of symptoms.
Marburg has already claimed the lives of four family members in Kabale district southern Uganda (photo WHO)

“Though no case has been reported in Rwanda, the government has put in place measures aimed at protecting Rwandans from this deadly disease but is also cautioning Rwandans to remain vigilant and report any suspected cases immediately,” a statement from the ministry of health reads in part.

“Specifically, the Ministry of Health has issued alert warnings to all health centres on how to detect and handle cases once they arise. The Ministry has already conducted training on prevention and management of viral hemorrhagic fevers to all health care providers in District Hospitals and Health Centers. “

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