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The World Health Organization suggests that Marburg hemorrhagic fever that had emerged in Uganda could represent a global threat to the public health. It has been found that this fatal disease characterized with sudden bleeding and high fever is being caused by Marburg virus, related to the one that causes Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

A mine worker from Uganda had dies in July from this disease and the laboratory results showed he was positive with the Marburg virus and so was one of his close contacts. Others who have been in contact with the two mine workers are kept under observation.

An international team of experts from the WHO, CDC, Médecins sans Frontières , Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) and local non governmental organizations (NGOs) are working with the Ugandan Health Ministry to increase surveillance, trace contact, control infection, manage logistics and other procedures necessary to contain the oubreak successfully. Ecological studies of the mines and surrounding areas are also being carried out to learn about the methods the virus could be passed in the natural environment.

They are suspecting bats. There are five million living around the mine but other lead and gold mines from the surrounding areas are being studied as well.

In the neighbour countries Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, scientists have captured over 1,000 bats and found that some of them were infected with the Marburg virus. The infected bats are from one species of fruit bat that is common across sub-Saharan Africa and is called Rousettus aegypticus. Health experts claim that finding these infected fruit bats would be a big step toward understanding how the virus behaves in the wild.

WHO reported that Marburg and Ebola are the rare but "most virulent pathogens known to infect humans". Although rare, an outbreak leads to a high fatality rate, even 80 and 90% in some cases.

Marburg hemorrhagic fever starts with stomach ache, diarrhea and vomiting, followed by loss of blood. In humans, it can be transmitted through blood or bodily fluids. Currently, there is no antidote and infected people have to be kept in strict isolation to contain the outbreak.


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