Guinea Records Probable Case of Ebola-like Marburg Virus

Guinea’s Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene says it has detected a probable case of Marburg virus, a deadly hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola.

According to Guinea’s Health Ministry, two laboratories in Guinea confirmed the case of Marburg and a sample has been sent to neighbouring Senegal for further confirmation.

The ministry, in a statement, said the probable case was detected in Nzerekore health district, South-East Guinea near the borders with Liberia and Ivory Coast.

It added that health officials are trying to identify contacts of the infected individual, ANSS said.

It did not provide details about the person’s current health status.

This year, 23 cases, including 12 deaths, have been documented in Nzerekore due to an outbreak of Ebola. It was also where West Africa’s 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak started before sweeping through Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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Marburg causes headaches, vomiting blood, muscle pains, and bleeding through various orifices. Transmission occurs through contact with the fluids and tissues of infected people.

The worst outbreak in Africa took place in 2005 in Angola, where 90% of the 252 infected died.

According to the World Health Organisation, the Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease with a fatality ratio of up to 88%. It gained initial recognition after two large outbreaks that occurred simultaneously in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany, and in Belgrade, Serbia in 1967.

Though there have been outbreaks and sporadic cases of the disease in Africa countries – including Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Uganda – the recent case in Guinea is the first time the virus will be reported in West Africa.

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In total, there have been 12 major Marburg outbreaks since 1967, most in the south and east of Africa as well as in Europe.

In 2018, scientists in Sierra Leone found live bats infected with Marburg but no cases of the disease were found in humans. The African fruit bat is the reservoir host for the virus.

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