By Goodluck Musinguzi, Patrick Murangira and Esther Namirimu
At least four people are confirmed dead after they succumbed to the Marburg virus while six have been admitted at Kabale Hospital.
Bernard Rutaro, a former teacher in Ibanda District and his mother Lillian Banegura died on October 4 having exhibited symptoms of the virus.
Boaz Turyahikayo and Mildred Asasira succumbed to the virus on Thursday but health officials stopped burial of the victims until experts come from Kampala.
He said they chased away mourners and isolated health workers at the four centers where the families sought medical attention.
The centres are Kabale Regional Referral Hospital, Rugarama hospital, Rushoroza Health Center III and Kigozi Clinic.
John Banegura, the head of the family, is the latest to be admitted.
Doctor Placid Mihayo, the Kabale Hospital director, confirms the admission.
Mihayo says they have quarantined members of the family but situation seems to be worsening.
He says they are still waiting for a team of experts from Kampala.
Late Friday evening a Marburg carrier was believed to have been travelling between Rukungiri and Bushenyi.
Mihayo said they were tracing Obed Tegyereize to isolate him.
“We are appealing to the general population to report Obed Tegyereize so that he does not infect more people,” he said.
Mathew Elayu, the acting Kabale resident district commissioner said they were hunting for individuals whose tests were confirmed positive.
The disease has set off a wave of panic in Kabale because hundreds of people had gathered Thursday to bury the dead.
Obed Tegyereize succumbed to the virus
Many people are attributing the disease to witchcraft believe saying the disease was selective on the family.
Joyce Musiime said: “I visited these people but I am not infected.
“We know this family destroyed a house that was keeping the family gods and were warned by the elders,” she told these reporters.
Mildred Asasira was a teacher in Ibanda
What you should know about Marburg
Marburg hemorrhagic fever is a rare, severe type of hemorrhagic fever which affects both humans and non-human primates.
Caused by a genetically unique zoonotic (that is, animal-borne) RNA virus of the filovirus family, its recognition led to the creation of this virus family.
The four species of Ebola virus are the only other known members of the filovirus family.
Up to a quarter of cases of Marburg hemorrhagic fever are fatal. Since the condition is rare and its signs and symptoms are similar to those of many other severe infections, the diagnosis of Marburg hemorrhagic fever can be difficult.
According to MedicineNet.com, there is no specific treatment for Marburg hemorrhagic fever.
People with it should be hospitalized and receive supportive care that includes maintenance of circulation and blood pressure and regulation of fluids and electrolyte levels in the blood.
Transfusions of blood and blood clotting factors may also be required.
Primary cause of Marburg virus
The primary cause of Marburg virus is the result: of transmission of an infectious agent by another person by one or more of the following: saliva, air, cough, fecal-oral route, surfaces, blood, needles, blood transfusions, sexual contact, mother to fetus, etc
As with some other viruses which cause viral hemorrhagic fever, humans who become ill with Marburg hemorrhagic fever may spread the virus to other people.
Spread of the virus between humans has occurred in a setting of close contact, often in a hospital.
Droplets of body fluids, or direct contact with persons, equipment, or other objects contaminated with infectious blood or tissues are all highly suspect as sources of disease. (Source: excerpt from Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever: DVRD)
The following conditions have been cited in various sources as potentially causal risk factors related to Marburg virus:
Exposure to infected person, hospital staff of infected person, family members of infected person, primates, animal laboratory workers.
Signs and symptoms
Marburg hemorrhagic fever strikes suddenly 5 to 10 days after infection with the virus and usually include fever, chills, headache, and myalgia (muscle aches). Nausea, vomiting, and chest or abdominal pain may also occur.
A maculopapular rash (with both of flat and raised lesions) appears about 5 days after symptoms have begun. The disease can worsen to include pancreatitis, jaundice, delirium, and ultimately shock and multi-organ failure.
The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for Marburg virus includes the 31 symptoms listed below:
Phase 1: Sudden onset, fever, chills, headache, and myalgia
Phase 2: Maculopapular rash, trunk rash, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, a sore throat, abdominal pain, diarrhea, jaundice, pancreas inflammation, severe weight loss, delirium shock , liver failure, massive hemorrhaging, multi-organ dysfunction, sore throat, muscle pain, rash, pancreatitis, weight loss, neuropsychotic symptoms, hemorrhage, hypovolemic shock
Due to our limited knowledge of the disease, preventive measures against transmission from the original animal host have not yet been established. Measures for prevention of secondary transmission are similar to those used for other hemorrhagic fevers.
If a patient is either suspected or confirmed to have Marburg hemorrhagic fever, barrier nursing techniques should be used to prevent direct physical contact with the patient.
These precautions include wearing of protective gowns, gloves, and masks; placing the infected individual in strict isolation; and sterilization or proper disposal of needles, equipment, and patient excretions. (Source: excerpt from Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever: DVRD)