Uganda's Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said that in September a male fell ill after hunting in a cave where a lot of fruit bats lived. The symptoms looked like those of the Marburg virus, however, no blood samples were taken. The condition of a contracted person is characterized by muscle pains, fever, vomiting, diarrhea and severe bleeding through body openings like ears and eyes.
On October 11 his sister, a 50-year-old woman, passed away suffering the same signs of a disease. She looked after her brother and could most probably get infected during burial rituals. A series of tests proved a suspected cause of death.
The Marburg virus spreads from human to human through contact with body liquids, with a fatality rate of about 80 percent. The epidemic usually starts when a contaminated animal such as a fruit bat or monkey contacts a person. Animals carrying the Marburg virus show practically no signs of the illness.
The Marburg virus belongs to the family of hemorrhagic fevers as well as Ebola, which has killed more than a thousand people in Africa since 1976.
The World Health Organization staff is making efforts to contain the current outbreak in Uganda.