Wednesday, 19 September 2018

UVRI in the Press - 2014


Researchers to investigate Marburg source
November 11   2014
By Emmanuel Ainebyoona

Researchers are to investigate the source of the Marburg virus in Uganda that led to the death of one person in September, according to Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, the Director of Medical Research Council and Uganda Virus Research Institute (MRC/UVRI).
The development follows a confirmed Marburg death involving a medical worker, who died on September 28, this year. Since the 30-year-old’s death, no other person has tested positive of the Marburg virus in the country.

“We are finding it unusual to have a situation where one person dies from the hemorrhagic fever and source of the virus is not yet known,” Prof Kaleebu said in an interview with the Daily Monitor at an event to celebrate 25 years of MRC/UVRI held at their headquarters in Entebbe last week.

“We need to find out whether the virus exists internally within the population,” Prof Kaleebu said, adding that the entire population needs to be screened. MRC/UVRI was established in 1988 and hosts laboratories where blood tests from suspected Ebola and Marburg patients have been carried out in the country since the first outbreak in early 2000s.


Commenting on the 25th anniversary, Prof Kaleebu noted that research findings at the unit working with various partners have contributed to the understanding and control of the HIV/Aids epidemic in Uganda and globally.

The research unit is also moving to expand its research into the non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, cancers and mental illness, among others

On behalf of the chief guest Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr Zerubabel Mijumbi Nyiira, applauded MRC/UVRI for its role in containing the hemorrhagic fever outbreaks in the country.

New clinic opened
Meanwhile, MRC/UVRI also officially opened a Shs4 billion clinic in Mengo- Kisenyi, targeting to offer free antiretroviral treatment (ART), free HIV testing to more than 7,000 low income earning women but mostly sex workers. The clinic construction and equipping was funded by the Center for Disease Control.


Uganda declared Marburg free!
11 November 2014
Ministry of Health- Uganda Press Release

Today, the Ministry of Health wishes to inform the Public that the country is officially declared free of the Marburg Virus Epidemic.

The declaration comes after completion of 42 days of the Post Marburg Surveillance countdown period which is a prerequisite of the World Health Organization (WHO) requiring any affected country to monitor the situation of any Viral Hemorrhagic Fever for that period before finally declaring an end to the outbreak.

The outbreak of the epidemic was declared on October 4th 2014 following laboratory tests done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) which confirmed that one person, a health worker, had died of the viral hemorrhagic fever.
The index case was a 30-year-old male Radiographer, who originally was working in Mpigi Health Centre IV, Mpigi Town Council but had been recruited by Mengo Hospital two months before his death on September 28th 2014 at Mengo Hospital.

The Ministry of Health informs the general public that since then, there have been no Marburg cases reported in the country. This implies that the Marburg outbreak in the country has completely been controlled.

Marburg is a highly infectious viral hemorrhagic fever that is spread through direct contact with, 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 the body openings like the eyes, nose, gums, ears, anus and the skin.

From 4th October 2014 when the outbreak of Marburg was declared, the National Task Force on epidemics took up the coordination of all interventions geared towards combating the epidemic. Additionally, the district taskforces of Kasese, Mpigi and Ibanda were alerted to trace all people who could have got into contact with the confirmed case. Consequently four isolation centers were set at; Mulago National Referral Hospital, the National Isolation Centre in Entebbe, Mpigi Health Centre IV and in Kagando Hospital in Kasese.

During the period of the outbreak, a total of 197 people were followed up for three weeks in Kampala, Mpigi and Kasese districts. These are people who got into contact with the confirmed case either during his sickness or after death. During this time, eight of these contacts developed symptoms similar to those of Marburg.

However, their results tested negative for the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever at the Uganda Virus Research Institute.

A total of 13 samples were also collected from different parts of the country (Ibanda, Lira, Kitgum, Jinja, Gulu, Luwero and Kampala ) as part of a wider surveillance network during the period. On a good note however, they all tested negative for the Marburg virus.

By 20th November, all the contacts had completed their 21 days of monitoring and apart from the 8 who required laboratory investigation and tested negative; the rest did not develop symptoms which confirms that none contracted the virus. An additional 21 days of surveillance was carried out to make 42 days as a requirement for management and control of viral Haemorrhagic fevers.

The Ministry of Health urges the public to reduce the risk of wildlife-to-human transmission by avoiding contact with fruit bats, reduce the risk of human-to-human transmission in the community in-case of suspected cases reported by avoiding direct or close contact with suspected patients.

We urge the Health workers to wear gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment when taking care of ill patients.

The public is also urged to embrace regular hand washing after visiting patients in hospital, before eating and after using the toilets, to avoid infections.

Finally, the Ministry of Health recognizes the contribution of the different development partners for their support during the outbreak. Special recognition goes to the World Health Organization, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Medicens San Frontiers, UNICEF, USAID (Communication for Healthy Communities), Airtel Uganda, Uganda Red Cross Society, World Vision Uganda, AFENET and the Media.

The Ministry of Health further acknowledges the efforts and contribution of Kampala Capital City Authority towards the control of this out break.

Lastly, the Government of Uganda once again reassures the general public that it is committed to protecting the population by ensuring that all measures are in place for early detection and immediate response to all Viral Haemorrhagic fever out breaks.


Hon. Sarah Achieng Opendi
Minister of State for Health – Primary Health Care

Marburg: 11 suspects test negative
Publish Date: Oct 07, 2014

By John Agaba

ELEVEN suspects whose samples were on Monday taken to the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe for testing after they developed signs of Marburg, have tested negative for the highly infectious virus.

A total of over eight people who earlier got into contact with Abraham Baluku (who died of Marburg on September 28) were on Monday confirmed to have developed signs of the highly infectious disease creating fear in the country.

About 100 people had been put under surveillance. But results from the Uganda Virus Research Institute indicate that although the suspects had developed signs and symptoms similar to that of the disease, they did not contract the virus. Among those who tested negative include: the brother of the deceased, two suspects (health workers from Mildmay Uganda), seven suspects from Mpigi Health Center IV and two relatives of the deceased who participated in the burial.

Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the director general of health services at the ministry, said three suspect cases remain in isolation. Two of these are admitted at the national isolation facility in Entebbe. They were picked from Rubaga Hospital after they showed signs similar to that of the viral haemorrhagic fever. Their samples were on Tuesday taken for analysis at UVRI.

They, however, had no contact with the confirmed case, a statement from the health ministry, said. 

The third suspect, who is admitted at Mpigi Health Center IV isolation ward, is a seven-year-old boy, who is one of the contacts that has been under surveillance for the last three days.  His sample was among those that tested negative. He, however, awaits a re-run of his blood sample after 3 days.

A statement from the health ministry however, said that the suspects will continue to be monitored. Those who continue to have signs, tests will be run again after three days.


Eight under surveillance over Marburg
Oct 06, 2014

By Vision Reporter

The Ministry of Health has said a total of eight people who earlier got into contact with the Marburg confirmed case have developed signs of the disease.

This follows the death of a 30-year old health worker that was announced Sunday.

The victim had been a radiographer, or X-ray technician, at the Mpigi Health Centre IV, but was recruited two months ago for a similar position at Mengo Hospital.

When he felt ill on September 17, he traveled back to Mpigi for treatment since “he felt more confortable with a facility that he had worked with for a long time.”

Below is the full statement from the Ministry of Health:

A total of eight people who earlier got into contact with the Marburg confirmed case have developed signs of the disease.
The Ministry has taken samples from the eight suspects and are being investigated at the Uganda Virus Research Institute.

Among the suspects are four from Mpigi, two from Kasese and two from Kampala district. Preparations are underway to quarantine the suspects as a preventive measure for the spread of the disease.

To date there is only one laboratory confirmed case that has been reported in the country. This is the first case that was reported at Mengo Hospital and has since died.

The National Taskforce continues to closely monitor all people who got into contact with this confirmed case.

The surveillance team on Monday was able to list an additional 17 people who got into contact with this confirmed case.

These include 16 people from Kampala and one from Kasese. This therefore brings the total number of contacts under surveillance to 97.

The Ministry of Health with support from Medicens San Frontiers (MSF) and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has today trained a total of 103 health workers from Mengo Hospital.

The team was trained in Marburg prevention, treatment and control. Others were trained in sample picking and infection control. A team of experts will tomorrow be dispatched to Kagando Hospital in Kasese district to guide health workers in infection control measures.

With support from MSF, rehabilitation of the Isolation Facility at Mulago National Referral Hospital will commence tomorrow 7th October 2014 and will be ready and operational by Wednesday October 8th 2014.

The facility will in addition to the National Isolation Center in Entebbe attend to all suspect and confirmed cases in Kampala and neighboring districts. The Ministry of Health has today dispatched a total of 300 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to Mpigi Health Center IV and Mengo Hospital.

The Government reassures the general public that the situation is under control as everything is being done to control the spread of this highly infectious disease.

Dr. Alex Opio
FOR: Director General of Health Services


Marburg: Five more suspects reported, 97 being monitored

Tuesday, October 7  2014
By Agatha Ayebazibwe

The Ministry of Health yesterday sent five more samples of the suspected Marburg fever to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) for more tests after they presented signs of the disease.

On Sunday, the ministry confirmed a health worker had succumbed to the disease following laboratory tests done on September 30.

The ministry is also awaiting results of a sample from the deceased’s brother, who has so far been listed as having developed signs of the deadly disease. He has since been quarantined and isolated for further monitoring.

According to the World Health Organisation country representative, Dr Alemu Wondimagegnehu, the five samples were drawn from people who were in contact with the deceased while at Mpingi Health Centre IV.

“The information we got from the team on the ground is that the five presented with signs of the disease. The samples have been delivered at UVRI and results are expected soon,” Dr Wondimagegnehu told Daily Monitor in an interview.

A temporary isolation centre has been set up at Mpigi Health Centre IV where the suspected cases are being quarantined.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Asuman Lukwago, also said another 17 contacts have been identified in Kampala, bringing the total of those who were in contact with the deceased to 97.

“Our teams are still on the ground tracing all the possible contacts. Those who have been identified will be isolated in their homes for at least 21 days. If they show any signs such as fever and headache, then we take their samples for further tests,” Dr Lukwago told Daily Monitor.

He added that results of the six samples are expected in a few hours.

However, some officials have expressed concern over the ministry’s preparedness to handle the crisis, should it become a fully-fledged Marburg outbreak.

“The confirmatory test results were received at the Ministry of Health on September 30, but to date, the ministry has not released any money to facilitate the teams to respond appropriately,” said a source within the ministry who preferred to remain anonymous.

But Dr Lukwago said they are still treating the matter as an emergency, saying those involved can use their money which will be refunded once the ministry gets the money.

“We are aiding them with things such as fuel, cars to enable them move from one place to another. We also expect to have a costed plan for the response in the next 36 hours,” he added.

About the disease

Cause. Marburg Viral Haemorraghic fever is caused by the Marburg virus which belongs to the same family together with the Ebola virus. The incubation period ranges from two to 21 days while the case fatality rates vary from 24 per cent to 88 per cent.

Spread. Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the hosts of Marburg. The virus spreads among humans through human-to-human transmission by direct contact with wounds and body fluids.

Symptoms. Headache, vomiting blood, joint and muscle pains, bleeding through the body openings, such eyes, nose, gums, ears, anus and the skin.

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