Equatorial Guinea confirms first-ever Marburg virus disease outbreak

Equatorial Guinea on Monday confirmed its first-ever outbreak of Marburg virus disease, after preliminary tests carried out following the deaths of at least nine people in the country’s western Kie Ntem Province turned out positive for the viral hemorrhagic fever.

This transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the Marburg virus, the cause of Marburg hemorrhagic fever. Image courtesy CDC/Getty Images).

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the outbreak.

The small Central African country quarantined more than 200 people and restricted movement last week in Kie-Ntem province after detecting the illness last week. Neighboring Cameroon also restricted movement along its border over concerns about contagion.

“Marburg is highly infectious. Thanks to the rapid and decisive action by the Equatorial Guinean authorities in confirming the disease, emergency response can get to full steam quickly so that we save lives and halt the virus as soon as possible,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said.

Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease that is similar to Ebola and according to the WHO, up to 88 percent of people who become infected, die.

Illness caused by Marburg virus begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache and severe malaise. Many patients develop severe hemorrhagic symptoms within seven days. The virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials.

There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus. However, supportive care, including rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids, and treatment of specific symptoms, improve survival.

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