Marburg virus spreads to Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea


The Marburg virus that can have up to an 88 percent death-rate reaches Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea with a total of 21 confirmed cases, according to The National News. 

The Marburg virus disease was first discovered in 1967 after spreading from a group of laboratory monkeys brought from Uganda. 

The virus first originated in fruit bats which can then pass the disease to other species like humans, monkeys, and pigs. The World Health Organization reports that the disease can be spread by the bodily fluids of an infected person coming in contact with broken skin or the mucous membranes of another person. This means that the Marburg virus can also be spread through contaminated surfaces and bedding. 

After exposure to the virus, it takes between two days and three weeks for symptoms to emerge. These symptoms can include headaches, fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, and vomiting. Additionally, severe bleeding can occur from the gums or nose. Death can occur about a week after the first show of symptoms. 

The World Health Organization is working with both Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea to contain the most recent outbreaks, providing necessary medical equipment and expertise. 

Last month, Equatorial Guinea announced that the Marburg disease had spread from rural areas to the city of Bata, the country’s commercial capital. 

Equatorial Guinea has 13 confirmed cases of the Marburg virus, 9 of which have proved deadly, and Tanzania has confirmed 8 cases of the virus, of which, 5 have proved deadly. 

READ: Shortage of medications in Tunisia causes crisis for patients

George Ameh, WHO’s country representative in Equatorial Guinea, has said that “Surveillance in the field has been intensified,” and that “Contact tracing, as you know, is a cornerstone of the response. We have … redeployed the Covid-19 teams that were there for contact tracing and quickly retrofitted them to really help us out.”

In order to prevent further spread, Mr. Ameh stated “We’re working on a 30-day response plan where we should be able to quantify what are the exact measures and quantify what are the exact needs.”

More suspected cases are arising around the globe, including in Spain, Ghana, and Cameroon, though the WHO reassures that the chances of a global outbreak are low.  

Currently, there are no known drugs or treatments for the Marburg virus. The only known way to manage the virus is to manage the symptoms and thoroughly hydrate the infected individual.

The National News


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