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» 18.06.2009 - Government dismisses swine flu cases
» 20.02.2009 - Meningitis under control – Health
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» 05.02.2008 - Uganda combats demons
» 13.12.2007 - Uganda probes Ebola origin

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Dutch woman dies of Ebola like virus in Uganda

afrol News, 11 July - A Dutch woman on holiday in Uganda died today of an Ebola like virus that causes over-bleeding, after entering a cave with bats.

The unidentified 40-year-old woman bled to death in Leiden University Medical Centre, according to Dutch authorities.

Health experts fear bats in caves and mines in western Uganda are a reservoir for Marburg virus, a cousin of Ebola. Marburg hemorrhagic fever is a severe and highly fatal disease whose victims often bleed from multiple sites.

People who were in close contact with victim, who visited two caves during a three-week trip to Uganda that ended on June 28, have been monitored daily but none have shown any symptoms, World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesperson, Gregory Hartl said.

"It is an isolated case of imported Marburg. People should not think about amending their travel plans to Uganda but should not go into caves with bats," Mr Hartl said.

In a statement, Uganda's Health Ministry advised people entering caves or mines in western district of Kamwenge to take "maximum precaution not to get into close contact with bats and non-human primates in nearby forests".

Kitaka mine in Kamwenge, about 250km from capital, Kampala, was closed in August 2007, after an outbreak of disease struck three gold miners, killing one.

At least 150 people reportedly died in an epidemic in Angola in 2004 and 2005, which followed an outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo, that cost 128 lives between 1998 and 2000, according to WHO.

The dead woman is believed to have had direct contact with a fruit bat in the cave in Maramagambo forest, a popular tourist attraction between Queen Elizabeth Park and Kabale, but also visited another cave at Fort Portal.

"Marburg virus infection has been demonstrated by laboratory tests," the UN has said. The woman is said to suffered fever and chills four days after her return home and was admitted to Leiden hospital on July 2.

A local tour guide was only other person on her cave visits, and Dutch authorities have alerted tour operator, according to WHO.

"No measures were taken with respect to passengers on flight from Uganda as flight occurred four days before onset of symptoms in patient," the body said.

WHO says the unidentified woman had visited the African country for three weeks last month.

Leiden University Medical Centre said hospital had taken all precautions to prevent spread of contagious disease.

Hospital said woman had been isolated and everyone she had been in contact with notified.

Marburg virus causes hemorrhaging, spread through contact with blood, semen or other bodily fluids and has a fatality rate as high as percent. There is no known treatment or cure.

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