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