Ghana announced the country’s first outbreak of Marburg virus disease after a World Health Organization laboratory confirmed earlier test results.
The Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, received samples from two unrelated deceased patients, the WHO said in an emailed statement. Both showed symptoms including diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting and sought treatment at the same hospital within days of each other. The WHO is supporting a joint national investigative team in Ghana’s Ashanti region and alerting neighbouring high-risk countries.
“Health authorities have responded swiftly, getting a head start,” Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s director for Africa, said in a statement. “Without immediate and decisive action, Marburg can easily get out of hand.”
Marburg is a highly infectious viral hemorrhagic fever in the same family as the more well-known Ebola virus disease. It is only the second time the zoonotic disease has been detected in West Africa.
Case fatality rates have varied from 24 per cent to 88 per cent in past outbreaks, depending on virus strain and the quality of case management, the WHO said. Although there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus, supportive care of specific symptoms improves survival.
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