Marburg Virus Disease Confirmed in Ghana

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The Ghana Health Service has confirmed the presence of two cases of Marburg virus disease in Ghana

The cases were first identified in the Ashanti Region on July 7, 2022.

A missive signed by the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said the cases were confirmed after testing at the Institute Pasteur in Dakar (IPD), Senegal.

“The test results corroborated the results from Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. The samples were sent to IPD with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) for validation in line with standard practice, this being the first time Ghana has confirmed Marburg Virus Disease.”

The Marburg virus

Marburg virus is a hemorrhagic fever virus of the Filoviridae family of viruses and a member of the species Marburg marburgvirus, genus Marburgvirus.

Marburg virus causes Marburg virus disease in humans and primates, a form of viral hemorrhagic fever. The virus is considered to be extremely dangerous.

The Marburg virus is a rare but severe viral haemorrhagic fever, almost as deadly as the more well-known Ebola virus disease.

Case fatality rates for Marburg have varied from 24% to 88% in previous outbreaks, while Ebola case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90%. Unlike with Ebola, there are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for Marburg, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Transmission

The Marburg virus is transmitted to humans from fruit bats and spreads person-to-person through direct contact with the bodily fluids of the infected individuals, surfaces and materials.

Symptoms

Illness begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache and malaise. Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic signs within seven days, according to the WHO.

Prevention

To reduce the risk of transmission, the Ghana Health Service advised people to avoid exposure to mines or caves inhabited by fruit bat colonies, to cook all animal products thoroughly before consumption and to avoid direct contact with anyone showing symptoms.

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