With 2 deaths, Ghana confirms contagious Marburg virus cases
Ghana's health ministry verified two cases of the Marburg virus, a highly contagious disease akin to Ebola, on Sunday after two patients died. Both deceased had tested positive for the disease earlier this month. On July 10, their tests returned positive, but the results needed to be confirmed by a laboratory in Senegal before the cases could be deemed confirmed, as per the World Health Organization.
- The first Marburg epidemic reportedly occurred in Germany in 1967, resulting in seven deaths.
- As per the WHO, in 2005, the virus killed over 200 people in Angola, making it the deadliest outbreak ever recorded.
- Guinea detected the first incidence of the virus in West Africa last year, but no other cases have been reported and the outbreak was declared over in September.
"Further testing at the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal has corroborated the results," stated the Ghana Health Service (GHS). GHS is striving to decrease the danger of the viral disease spreading by isolating all known connections, none of whom have experienced symptoms so far, according to the organization. This is just the second Marburg epidemic in West Africa.
"(Ghanaian) health authorities have responded swiftly, getting a head start preparing for a possible outbreak. This is good because, without immediate and decisive action, Marburg can easily get out of hand," stated Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's Regional Director for Africa. The two patients died in the hospital after experiencing symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting, as per the World Health Organization.
According to health authorities in the West African country, 98 people have been quarantined as probable contact cases. The virus is transmitted to human beings by fruit bats and proliferates between humans through bodily fluids. It is a severe, frequently fatal condition characterized by symptoms such as headaches, fevers, muscle cramps, vomiting blood, and bleeding.
Earlier outbreaks and sporadic cases have been recorded in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda, according to the WHO. Authorities are currently advising people to avoid caves and thoroughly prepare any meat products before eating them.