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First Case of Lethal Marburg Virus Detected in West Africa

First Case of Lethal Marburg Virus Detected in West Africa

First Case of Lethal Marburg Virus Detected in West Africa

Officials in Guinea have confirmed the first case of a virus disease called Marburg. It is the first case of the deadly illness in West Africa, the World Health Organization said today.

According to a report by AFP, the lethal virus is related to Ebola and, like Covid-19, passed from animal hosts to humans. Just like Ebola, Marburg virus is a highly infectious haemorrhagic fever.

The person infected with Marburg has succumbed to the virus. The patient had first sought treatment at a local clinic before his condition rapidly deteriorated, the WHO said on Monday.

The organisation further mentioned that the virus which is carried by bats and has a fatality rate of up to 88%, was found in samples taken from a patient who died on August 2.

Guinean officials identified the case in the southern Gueckedou prefecture, said the WHO statement.

“The potential for the Marburg virus to spread far and wide means we need to stop it in its tracks,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, as quoted by AFP.

“This is the first time Marburg, a highly infectious disease that causes hemorrhagic fever, has been identified in the country, and in West Africa,” it added.

The disease falls into the same family as the virus that causes Ebola, another deadly and highly infectious disease.

This discovery comes just two months after the WHO declared an end to the country’s second outbreak of Ebola, which began in 2020 and had claimed 12 lives.

In Geneva, the WHO has considered the threat “high” at the national and regional level, but “low” globally.

“We are working with the health authorities to implement a swift response that builds on Guinea’s past experience and expertise in managing Ebola, which is transmitted in a similar way,” Moeti said.

What do we know about Marburg virus so far?

According to the statement by WHO, Marburg case fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88% in past outbreaks, depending on virus strain and case management. It also said that the transmission occurred through contact with infected body fluids and tissue.

Marburg outbreaks start when an infected animal, such as a monkey or a fruit bat, passes the virus to a human. The virus then spreads from human to human by contact with an infected person’s body fluids.

Symptoms include headache, vomiting blood, muscle pains, and bleeding through various orifices.

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