Authorities in Equatorial Guinea have announced the country’s first epidemic of the Marburg virus, a highly infectious disease in the same virus family as Ebola. In the country’s western Kie Ntem province, nine people are suspected of dying from viral hemorrhagic fever.
Further tests on one sample, which was collected and transferred to the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, revealed that it was positive.
According to the World Health Organisation, 16 people have been quarantined as possible contact cases. The health organisation has sent a team of experts to the area to assist health workers.
Preliminary investigations, according to the country’s Health Minister Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba, have linked the deaths to persons who attended a funeral ceremony.
Movement has been restricted in the vicinity of two villages, where the majority of cases have been reported. The search for contacts is currently underway. This is the country’s first outbreak and the third in West Africa. Ghana verified one instance last year, and Guinea confirmed one the year before.
Marburg virus is transmitted to humans by fruit bats and spreads between humans through bodily fluids. Although there are no vaccines or therapies available, persons who have been diagnosed are recommended to drink plenty of water as doctors address their unique symptoms.
Previous Marburg virus outbreaks and isolated cases have been documented in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda.
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