In a statement dated 19th October the Uganda Ministry of Health
reported that laboratory tests done on patients suffering from symptoms of a haemorrhagic fever proved positive for Marburg virus. The patients came from the Kitumba sub-county, Kabale district in western Uganda, the first 4 patients coming from the same family. Later press reports indicate that there have been 5 fatalities so far.
The first outbreak of this disease occurred in Marburg, Germany, and Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, in 1967 leading to the initial recognition of this disease. The outbreak was associated with laboratory work using African green monkeys imported from Uganda. Subsequently, outbreaks and sporadic cases have been reported in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa (in a person with a recent travel history to Zimbabwe) and Uganda. The most recent outbreak in Uganda occurred in 2007 when 2 people died of the disease. Marburg virus is transmitted through bodily fluids such as saliva and blood, or by handling infected wild animals such as monkeys. It should therefore pose substantially no risk to tourists.