Marburg virus disease in Uganda

Released: November 06, 2017


What is Marburg virus disease?

Marburg virus disease (MVD) is a severe illness that can be fatal. It is caused by the Marburg virus, which is similar to the virus that causes Ebola virus disease.

The Marburg virus causes haemorrhagic fever in humans, which affects many organs, damages blood vessels, and affects the body's ability to regulate itself.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of Marburg can include high-grade fever, chills, headache and muscle pain.  As the disease progresses, symptoms become more severe, with some people experiencing severe bleeding (hemorrhaging) and death.

How can you become infected with Marburg Virus Disease ?

Marburg virus is transmitted to humans through contact with fruit bats when visiting mines or caves . Tourists and travellers should keep this in mind when visiting places like the Mount Elgon bat caves, or interacting with other wild animals.

The Marburg virus can then spread from person to person through contact with:

What is the situation in Uganda?

On October 20, 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed an outbreak of Marburg virus disease in the remote eastern Kween district of Uganda.  This district is found on the border of Kenya and 300 kilometres northeast of Kampala. For information related to this outbreak, see the WHO's disease outbreak news.

The last outbreak of Marburg virus disease in Uganda was in 2014. 

There is no vaccine or medication that protects against Marburg virus disease.

How can you protect yourself from Marburg virus disease?

Before your trip:

Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel. 

During your trip:

If you travel to Mount Elgon bat caves :

If you travel to the Kween district in Uganda:

Avoid close contact with or handling of animals.

Practise strict hand washing routines.

After your trip:

Monitor your health when returning from Uganda:

Registration of Canadians Abroad

Sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad  (ROCA) service to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home . 

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