Cave warning on Uganda bat virus

Angola saw the worst outbreak of Marburg in 2004-2005

The World Health Organization has warned people not to go into Ugandan caves with bats, after a Dutch tourist contracted the deadly Marburg virus.

The woman, aged 40, died after being taken to hospital following her return to the Netherlands, health authorities there said.

They said she probably contracted the disease while visiting a Ugandan cave inhabited by fruit bats.

Marburg is a contagious disease that causes sudden bleeding and high fever.

There is no treatment or vaccine.

The largest outbreak occurred in 2004-2005 in Angola and killed more than 300 people.

No tourists are known to have previously contracted the disease.

“It is an isolated case of imported Marburg,” said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl.

“People should not think about amending their travel plans to Uganda but should not go into caves with bats.”

Dutch health officials said people who had come into contact with the woman on her return were being closely monitored.

In the past, Marburg and the related Ebola virus have caused outbreaks in humans and great apes with mortality rates of 80 to 90%.

Early symptoms of Marburg are diarrhoea, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting, which give way to bleeding. It is spread by the transfer of blood or other bodily fluids.


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