Marburg outbreak does not help to lower concerns over travel to Africa

MARBURG OUTBREAK CONFIRMED IN UGANDA

(Posted 06th October 2014)

For the second time in the space of two years was a Marburg fever case confirmed in Uganda, after a patient died last week and the laboratory tests by the Uganda Virus Institute in Entebbe confirmed the presence of the virus.

From information at hand did a first patient pass away on the 28th of September and his brother had according to details received also developed symptoms of the disease but is under close observation in a special isolation ward in a local hospital.

Other individuals who had been in contact with the first victim are also being monitored by a team from the Ugandan Ministry of Health.

The location of the outbreak was traced back to the Western Ugandan district of Kasese and ministry personnel are deployed to search for any further cases which may be present in the area, which borders the Congo DR.

There is no cause for alarm for visitors to the country, as even in 2012 the disease was caught at an early stage and successfully contained. Uganda has, according to the World Health Organization, an outstanding record in fighting hemorrhagic fevers in the past and this latest incident is equally expected to pose no further risks to locals and visitors to the Pearl of Africa.

Tourism sources however did not entirely share the optimism and one regular source commented from the closing stages of the second Kampala Capital City Festival: ‘I have not heard that yet but if you say it must be true. We spent the day at the Kampala City Festival and I did not keep up with news. Ebola has already started to scare people about visits to Africa. We are on the other side of the continent where the outbreak is going on. We have no direct flights from West Africa but now that this has spread to America, people might be more worried. If it can spread there they will think it can spread anywhere. And if that was not enough, now Marburg again? This is not good and can have a negative effect on our sector’.

At the time of uploading this report no official comments were available from the Ministry of Tourism or the Uganda Tourism Board but will be published here just as soon as possible.

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