The first case of Marburg virus disease has been confirmed in Equatorial Guinea, according to reports from Brazzaville and Malabo. At least nine people have died from viral hemorrhagic fever, and preliminary tests in the country’s eastern Kie Ntem Province have shown that one of the samples is positive.
Following a 7 February alert from a district health official, the Equatorial Guinean Ministry of Health sent samples to the Institut Pasteur reference laboratory in Senegal, with the help of the World Health Organization (WHO). One sample out of eight tested at Institut Pasteur was virus positive. Nine confirmed fatalities and 16 possible cases with symptoms like fever, fatigue, bloody vomiting, and diarrhea have been reported.
The investigation is still unfolding. Teams have been sent in ahead of schedule to the affected areas to trace contacts, isolate cases, and treat those who are sick. WHO is sending health emergency experts in epidemiology, case management, infection prevention, laboratory, and risk communication to aid in the national response and to ensure community collaboration in the outbreak control as part of the ongoing efforts to rapidly mount emergency response.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is coordinating the delivery of laboratory glove tents for sample testing and one kit of viral hemorrhagic fever PPE suitable for 500 healthcare workers.
“Marburg is an extremely contagious virus. “We can save lives and put an end to the virus as soon as possible thanks to the swift and decisive action taken by the authorities in Equatorial Guinea in confirming the disease,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
The hemorrhagic fever caused by the Marburg virus can have a mortality rate of up to 88 percent. The virus that causes Ebola virus disease is related to this one. The symptoms of Marburg virus disease, including high fever, severe headache, and severe malaise, appear all at once. Within that time frame, many people start showing severe hemorrhagic symptoms. Humans catch the virus from infected fruit bats and spread it to one another through contact with infected saliva, urine, or feces.
The virus has no vaccines and no approved antiviral treatments. Rehydration through oral or intravenous fluids and the treatment of specific symptoms are examples of supportive care that increase the likelihood of survival. Blood products, immune therapies, drug therapies, and candidate vaccines with phase 1 data are all being considered as potential treatments.
It was previously unclear that only one sample tested positive for Marburg virus disease; this has been clarified in the first paragraph. While this was made abundantly clear in the second paragraph, readers might have gotten the wrong idea if they had only read the first paragraph.
What Is The Marburg Virus And How Dangerous Is It?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 24% and 88% of patients died during previous outbreaks of the Marburg virus.
In 1967, the virus was discovered following simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, and Belgrade, Serbia, where 31 people were infected and seven died.
Imported African green monkeys from Uganda were identified as the source of the disease. One person in Europe and one person in the United States have been the only ones to have died from the Marburg virus in the past 40 years.
- Equatorial Guinea
- the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- South Africa
How Is The Marburg Virus Spread?
Wen: Marburg, like Ebola, is transmitted solely through personal interaction. This includes being in close proximity to an infected person, handling their personal belongings (such as bedding, clothing, needles, and medical equipment), or coming into contact with their blood or other bodily fluids. Semen from a man who has recovered from Marburg has been linked to transmission to his partners in some cases.
People who come into close contact with Marburg carriers are at the highest risk. This includes loved ones, caregivers, and professionals in the medical field. Isolation is necessary for people who have been diagnosed with or are suspected of having the Marburg virus.
Those attending to the patient should dress in protective garb and avoid coming into contact with them at all costs.
Who Should Worry About The Marburg Virus?
The Marburg virus disease has only been documented in Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania so far. The outbreaks are currently being attempted to be contained. There have been previous instances of successful containment. The first confirmed cases of Marburg disease were found in Germany and Serbia in 1967. Since then, many countries—including Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and most recently Ghana in 2022—have experienced their own outbreaks.
The Marburg virus can cause severe illness, but it can also be contained. Those who spread it typically exhibit symptoms themselves. Furthermore, the Marburg virus does not spread through the air. That makes it easier to contain than the highly contagious Covid-19, which can be spread through the air on microscopic aerosols and is often spread by asymptomatic carriers.
Both the West and East African Marburg outbreaks require close attention. Medical professionals in these areas should be on high alert, and the testing of a vaccine and potential treatments should move quickly.
Most of the world does not need to be concerned about contracting the Marburg virus at this time. However, the Marburg virus serves as a sobering reminder that there are numerous zoonotic pathogens that can cause serious harm to human health.
In 1967, the virus was discovered after an outbreak that infected 31 people and killed 7. These cases occurred simultaneously in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, and Belgrade, Serbia. African green monkeys brought in from Uganda were identified as the source of the disease. But now it seems that the virus may have spread to other species.