Less than two months after the end of an Ebola epidemic, authorities in Guinea are reporting infection with the Marburg virus. Similar to the Ebola virus, it is very contagious and causes a high fever and internal bleeding.
In the West African state of Guinea, authorities have announced an outbreak of the life-threatening Marburg fever – less than two months after an Ebola outbreak in the country was declared over. As the World Health Organization (WHO) announced, this is the first case ever in West Africa.
The Marburg virus, which can cause hemorrhagic fever, comes from the same family of pathogens as the Ebola virus. According to the WHO, it is transmitted to humans through fruit bats. Human-to-human transmission occurs, among other things, through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person, but also via surfaces. Symptoms include a high fever and severe headache. According to the WHO, mortality is up to 88 percent. Approved vaccines against the Marburg virus do not yet exist.
There is little risk of a pandemicThe Marburg virus has the potential to “spread widely,” said WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti. According to the WHO, the risk of an epidemic in the country and region is “high” but “low” worldwide.
According to Moeti, the WHO is working with the national health authorities on suitable measures to contain the virus. In doing so, she builds on “Guinea’s experience and expertise in dealing with Ebola, which is transmitted in a similar way,” said Moeti. She praised the “vigilance and prompt investigation” of the Guinea health authorities.According to the WHO, the virus was detected in a patient who died on August 2 in a village in the Guéckédou prefecture in southern Guinea.
The most recent outbreak of the Ebola virus took place in this prefecture. The man had been treated at a local hospital, according to the WHO. After his symptoms worsened, a medical team was dispatched to the clinic. The man died a good week after the first symptoms appeared. Samples taken after his death initially tested negative for Ebola, but then tested positive for the Marburg virus. Several relatives infected.
A team of ten WHO experts is already on site to support the national health authorities with emergency measures and to carry out further tests in the population. According to the WHO, three relatives of the deceased and a member of the medical staff were identified as high-risk cases. Your health will be monitored. In addition, other contacts of the man would be determined and it would be investigated where he could have been infected. The government of Guinea said a total of 155 contacts were being monitored on a daily basis.
Since the start of the investigations on August 4, there have been no more suspected cases of the Marburg virus. According to the WHO, cross-border surveillance will also be intensified so that possible further cases can be identified quickly. The neighboring states of Guinea have been put on alert.