Marburg virus: Ghana confirms first outbreak of deadly virus

The announcement comes after two unrelated patients from Ghana’s southern Ashanti region, both of whom later died, tested positive for the virus.

Patients have shown symptoms including diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting, WHO said, adding that more than 90 contacts are being monitored.

According to the WHO, Marburg is a highly contagious viral hemorrhagic fever in the same family as the Ebola virus, and has a fatality rate of up to 88%. “The onset of illness is sudden with high fever, severe headache and malaise,” it said.

The virus is transmitted from fruit bats to humans, and then from human to human through direct contact with infected body fluids or surfaces and materials contaminated with these fluids, the WHO explains.

The World Health Organization said containment measures were underway and more resources would be deployed to respond to the outbreak in Ghana. The WHO also warned that “without immediate and decisive action, Marburg could easily get out of hand.”

There are no approved vaccines or antiviral treatments for Marburg virus. However, a patient’s chances of survival can be improved with care including oral or intravenous rehydration and treatment of specific symptoms, WHO said.

The Ghana Health Service Ghana has urged the public to avoid tunnels and caves occupied by fruit bats and to thoroughly cook all meat before eating to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Fruit bats are the natural hosts of Marburg virus, the health service said.
The Ghanaian outbreak is second only to Guinea in West Africa Virus detected Last year. A Guinea outbreak patient also died of the virus. No further cases have been confirmed by Guinean health authorities.
In other areas Africa, previous outbreaks have been reported in Uganda, Kenya, Angola, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Angola outbreak in 2005 was particularly dangerous More than 200 people were killed.

According to the WHO, countries at high risk of virus resurgence have been contacted and are on alert.

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