According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, the Marburg virus, which produces a highly contagious illness resembling Ebola, was found in two Ghanaian individuals who later passed away.
The results of tests performed in Ghana were positive, but a laboratory in Senegal must confirm those findings before the cases can be termed verified, the WHO said in a statement on Thursday.
According to the statement, the two patients in the southern Ashanti region both experienced diarrhoea, fever, nausea, and vomiting before passing away in the hospital.
This would be only the second Marburg outbreak in West Africa if the cases are confirmed. In Guinea, the virus was discovered for the first time last year, but no other cases have been found.
“Preparations for a possible outbreak response are being set up swiftly as further investigations are underway,” the WHO said.
Since 1967, there have been twelve significant Marburg outbreaks, primarily in southern and eastern Africa.
The Marburg virus is typically linked to exposure to caverns or mines that are home to Rousettus bat colonies. The WHO states that after becoming sick, a person can contract the virus by coming into touch with contaminated surfaces, materials, or bodily fluids of an infected person.
The illness strikes quickly, accompanied by a high fever, excruciating headache, and pain.
According to the WHO, death rates in previous epidemics have ranged from 24 to 88 percent depending on the virus type and case care.
Oral or intravenous rehydration and treatment of particular symptoms, it added, enhance survival rates despite the lack of licensed vaccinations or antiviral medications.
In September 2021, Guinea declared an end to the Marburg virus disease outbreak after discovering no new cases over the past 42-day incubation period, or the time between infection and the onset of symptoms.
The virus outbreak, which was confirmed on August 9 marked the first time the disease emerged in the country and in West Africa. Only the index patient who was diagnosed with the virus posthumously, was recorded and more than 170 high-risk contacts monitored for 21 days.
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