Guide sought over Marburg

By Vision Reporter

THE Ministry of Health has sent a team of officials to Maramagambo Forest to identify the local tour guide who came in close contact with the Dutch tourist who died of Marburg haemorrhagic fever last week.

By Raymond Baguma

THE Ministry of Health has sent a team of officials to Maramagambo Forest to identify the local tour guide who came in close contact with the Dutch tourist who died of Marburg haemorrhagic fever last week.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said other people in Netherlands, who were in close contact with the victim, had been monitored but none showed symptoms of the disease.

The ministry spokesperson, Paul Kaggwa, yesterday said a team had been dispatched to western Uganda, adding that further details from the team’s mission would be availed today.

According to WHO, the local tour guide was the only other person who visited the cave with the tourist.

Health minister Dr. Stephen Mallinga said the cave had been closed by local authorities.

WHO has since urged Ugandans and tourists to avoid entering caves with bats, adding that it was an isolated case that should not deter tourists from travelling to Uganda.

The woman, whose trip ended on June 28, suffered fever and chills four days after getting to Netherlands.

She was admitted to Leiden University Medical Centre on July 2 where she died on July 11.

The Dutch woman is believed to have had direct contact with a fruit bat in the cave in the forest, a popular tourist attraction in western Uganda.

She had also visited another cave in Fort Portal, according to the world health body.

On Friday, the ministry advised people entering caves or mines in the western district of Kamwenge to take “maximum precaution not to get into close contact with the bats and non-human primates in the nearby forests.”

In August last year, Kitaka mine in Kamwenge district was closed after an outbreak of the disease struck three gold miners, killing one.

Health experts fear bats in caves and mines in western Uganda are a reservoir for the Marburg virus, a cousin of Ebola.

Marburg haemorrhagic fever is a severe and highly fatal disease whose victims often bleed from multiple sites.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Marburg, which is spread through contact with blood, semen or other bodily fluids.

Guide sought over Marburg