Joint mission of EMLab and US-CDC to support the response to the Marburg virus disease outbreak in Uganda

As part of the European Medical Corps, the European Mobile Laboratory (EMLab) Consortium deployed a diagnostic laboratory unit to support the response to the Marburg virus outbreak in Uganda.

On the 17th of October 2017 the Ministry of Health of Uganda reported an outbreak of Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) resulting in three fatalities. Contact tracing revealed a large number of persons that had to be followed-up during the 21 day incubation period. In response to the outbreak, MĂ©decins Sans Frontieres (MSF) had set up high containment treatment centers in Kapchorwa and Kaproron. These treatment centers required a laboratory for both diagnostics of MVD and clinical chemistry analysis to support patient care.

WHO requested laboratory support from the European Medical Corps through the EU Civil Protection mechanism of DG-ECHO. EMLab responded to the call and deployed a unit to Uganda on 20th of November. It was set up at the treatment center in Kapchorwa and operated by staff from EMLab and US-CDC. During the deployment in Kapchorwa, WHO, MSF, and EMLab trained 16 health care workers and laboratory scientists from Uganda and Kenya. A few samples from suspect patients were tested. The Minister of Health of Uganda, Dr. Aceng Jane Ruth, visited the treatment center with the laboratory and was introduced to the EMLab concept.

The EMLab unit stayed in Kapchorwa until the end of the enhanced surveillance period on the 7th of December 2017 and returned to Germany on the10th of December 2017.

Partners in the field have been WHO-Uganda, WHO-Geneva, UNICEF, MoH of Uganda, the Uganda VirusResearch Institute (UVRI), MSF, DG-ECHO, and US-CDC.

This mission was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and co-funded by DG-ECHO of the European Commission.

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