First-Ever Case of Marburg Virus Disease Confirmed in Guinea

Health authorities in Guinea have confirmed a case of Marburg virus disease in the southern Gueckedou district. This is the first case of the disease identified in the country, and in West Africa.

Marburg is a highly infectious disease that causes haemorrhagic fever. It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola and was detected less than two months after Guinea declared an end to an Ebola outbreak.   

A field laboratory in Gueckedou as well as Guinea’s national haemorrhagic fever laboratory which tested samples from a now-deceased patient confirmed the Marburg virus. Additional analysis by the Institut Pasteur in Senegal confirmed the result.

A medical team had been dispatched to probe the deteriorating condition of the patient who sought treatment at a local clinic in Koundou area in Gueckedou.

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Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa said “We applaud the alertness and the quick investigative action by Guinea’s health workers. The potential for the Marburg virus to spread far and wide means we need to stop it in its tracks”

“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.”

Contact-tracing efforts are underway to find the people who may have been in contact with the patient. As the disease is appearing for the first time in the country, health authorities are launching public awareness and community mobilisation to raise consciousness and spur support to help curb widespread infection.

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Gueckedou, where Marburg Virus Disease has been confirmed, is also the same region where cases of the 2021 Ebola outbreak in Guinea as well as the 2014-2016 West Africa outbreak were initially detected.

An initial team of 10 WHO experts, including epidemiologists and socio-anthropologists is on the ground helping to investigate the case and supporting the national health authorities to swiftly step-up emergency response, including risk assessment, disease surveillance, community mobilisation, testing, clinical care, infection prevention as well as logistical support.

In Africa, previous outbreaks and sporadic cases have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. It is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials.

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