The outbreak of a deadly virus similar to Ebola – the fatal fever that struck west Africa – has been confirmed in the continent.
Marburg, which kills up to 88% of people it strikes, has killed two people in Uganda and is now feared to have spread to another three.
A team of experts have been scrambled to the Kween district to contain the virus amid fears it will become a serious epidemic.
It can be spread through bites from either fruit bats or monkeys, and can be passed from human-to-human through semen and blood.
However, it can also be passed through coming into contact with contaminated clothing and bedsheets, the World Health Organization warns.
There is currently no treatment of the virus.
According to local reports the two people who died of Marburg recently were brother and sister.
But fears have soared after it emerged another three are suspected of contracting the virus, one of whom has disappeared after refusing to go to hospital.
And more worryingly, it is feared several hundred people have come into contact with the five victims.
Dr Diana Atwine, Uganda’s health ministry permanent secretary, said: “At moment we don’t know if there are other people apart from the dead who have contracted the disease.
“Health experts are still investigating in addition to sensitising the population about the dangers of Marburg and we call for public vigilance.”
And among the places affected are tourist destinations such as South Africa, Kenya, the Seychelles and Mauritius.
Health officials fear the plague, which has killed 124 people in this latest outbreak, is now running a “high” risk of spreading.