Highly infectious Marburg virus confirmed in Ghana, here’s what to know about the disease

Mildred Europa Taylor July 18, 2022
Getty Images

The first cases of the deadly Marburg virus have been confirmed in Ghana. Blood samples taken from two people in the country’s Ashanti region earlier this month came back positive. The samples were sent to the Pasteur Institute in Senegal, where the diagnosis was confirmed, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said.

“This is the first time Ghana has confirmed Marburg virus disease,” the GHS head, Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said. The two patients died recently in a hospital in the Ashanti region. At the moment, 98 people are under quarantine as suspected contact cases, the GHS said.

Declaring Ghana’s first outbreak, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said health authorities have responded swiftly, getting a headstart preparing for a possible outbreak.

“This is good because without immediate and decisive action, Marburg can easily get out of hand,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s Africa director.

The Marburg virus can spread from infected animals such as bats. It spreads between humans through the transmission of bodily fluids. “The public is therefore advised to avoid caves inhabited by bat colonies and to cook all meat products thoroughly before consumption,” health officials in Ghana advised.

Symptoms of the virus, which is almost as deadly as Ebola, include fever, headache, muscle pains, bleeding and vomiting blood. No treatment exists for Marburg, however, a range of potential treatments including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are currently being evaluated, the WHO says.

It adds that case fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88% in past outbreaks depending on virus strain and the quality of case management.

This is the second time that Marburg has been identified in West Africa. One case was confirmed in Guinea last year, but that outbreak was declared over in September 2021.

Previous outbreaks and sporadic cases of Marburg in Africa have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, according to the WHO.

The first ever Marburg outbreak was in Germany in 1967 and it killed seven people. In 2005, the virus claimed the lives of more than 200 people in Angola.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 18, 2022


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates