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Two Suspicious Cases of Marburg Virus Disease Reported in Ghana




Ghana reported the first suspected case of Marburg virus disease (MVD) after preliminary samples taken from two patients who died after showing symptoms were positive for viral hemorrhagic fever.

The samples will be sent to the Pasteur Institute in Senegal (a cooperation center of the World Health Organization (WHO)) and processed before being officially confirmed as a case.

Unrelated patients, both from the southern region of Ashanti, showed symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting.

They were taken to a district hospital in the Ashanti region, but later died.

“No new cases have been reported since the two samples were taken two weeks ago,” the Ghana Health Service said in a statement.

According to the service, 34 people who came into contact with the incident were in quarantine.

WHO is sending experts to assist Ghana’s health authorities.

“Health authorities are investigating the situation in the field and preparing for possible responses,” said WHO Ghana representative Francis Casolo.

“We are working closely with the country to enhance detection, track contacts and control the spread of the virus.”

If the case is confirmed, this is only the second outbreak of MVD in West Africa.

One case was confirmed in Guinea last year.

This was the only case recorded in an outbreak declared by WHO five weeks later.

Gloved Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) Paramedic Close-up
WHO has sent experts to Ghana in case of an outbreak. ((((ABC News: Chris Gillette).

What is the Marburg virus?

It is a viral hemorrhagic fever of the same family as Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

It is highly infectious and was first detected in 1967 after it occurred in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, and Belgrade, Serbia.

According to WHO, these outbreaks are related to working in the lab using African savanna monkeys imported from Uganda.

However, one of the fruit bats, Rousettus aegyptiacus, is considered to be the natural host of the virus.

“Initially, human MVD infections result from long-term exposure to mines and caves inhabited by russet flying fox colonies,” said the WHO fact sheet.

“The Marburg virus is transmitted from bats to humans and through human-to-human transmission.”

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include:

  • heat
  • headache
  • Stagnation
  • diarrhea
  • stomach ache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Myalgia and pain
  • Itchy rash
  • Bloody stool
  • Hematemesis
  • Bleeding from the nose, gums and vagina
  • Idiopathic bleeding at the site of venipuncture
  • Inflammation of the testicles
  • Confusion, irritability and aggression

The average facility rate for the virus is about 50%.

WHO data from past outbreaks show that case fatality rates fluctuate between 24-88%. It takes into account different strains and treatment cases.

According to the WHO, most Marburg deaths occur between the 8th and 9th days after the onset of symptoms, usually after the patient suffers from “severe blood loss” and is shocked.

How does it spread?

Human-to-human transmission occurs through direct contact with the blood, secretions, or other body fluids of people infected with the virus through broken skin or mucous membranes.

It also spreads through contact with surfaces contaminated with these liquids.

WHO states that it can spread through funeral services that involve direct contact with contaminated clothing and bedding used by MVD patients and the body of deceased patients.

How is it treated?

WHO states that there is “no proven treatment” for MVD, and there are no vaccines or approved antiviral treatments.

However, the survival potential of a patient can be improved by treating certain symptoms and hydration by oral or intravenous fluids.

WHO states that treatments, including blood products, immunotherapy, and drug therapies, are being evaluated.

ABC with wire




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