What you need to know about Marburg virus disease

Ghana announced the country’s first Marburg virus outbreak after two unrelated people died on 27 and 28 June. The news of a new outbreak of a deadly disease caused by viral infections has increased the concern of a public tired of fight against the coronavirus pandemicand recently alarmed the spread of monkeypox as well as new case of polio.

Doctors and public health experts in the country immediately set about searching for everyone who became infected and investigating the causes of the spread in order to contain the infection. So far, health researchers in Ghana and other parts of the world have said there are no signs of further spread of the virus.

Marburg was first discovered in 1967 when Outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in the laboratories of Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany and in Belgrade, on the territory of modern Serbia, in cases related to African green monkeys brought from Uganda. Other cases have since been found in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, according to the World Health Organization. Last month’s cases in Ghana were the first reported in that country.

According to health experts, Marburg virus is the pathogen that causes Marburg virus disease in humans.

There are no vaccines or antiviral drugs to treat the disease, according to medical experts, but keeping patients hydrated and treating their specific symptoms could improve their chances of survival.

The disease is clinically similar to Ebola in distribution, symptoms, and progression, although it is caused by a different virus, according to the WHO. In the case of Marburg, fruit bats are believed to be carriers of the virus, although researchers say it’s not likely to cause them the disease. Researchers believe that Ebola is likely carried by bats or non-human primates. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although not widely used, Marburg was fatal, with fatality rates ranging from 24 percent to 88 percent, depending on which strain people get infected with and how cases are treated. According to WHO The death rate from Ebola is almost the same.

Marburg virus can be spread by direct contact with the blood, secretions, or other bodily fluids of infected people. According to WHO It can also be spread by contact with contaminated surfaces and materials such as bedding or clothing.

Marburg can cause a severe viral hemorrhagic fever that interferes with the blood’s ability to clot. The incubation period ranges from two to 21 days, and symptoms begin suddenly with a high fever, severe headache, and severe malaise, according to the WHO. Other symptoms may include muscle pain, diarrhea, nausea, lethargy, and bleeding through vomit, feces, and other organs. parts.

“The mortality rate is very high,” the doctor said. John Amuasi is Team Leader of Global Health and Infectious Disease Research at the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research on Tropical Medicine in Kumasi, Ghana. “And there is no asymptomatic Marburg.”

The patient may confirm your status Marburg with antibody, antigen and polymerase chain reaction tests, health organizations said.

Only two cases of Marburg virus disease have been reported this year, both in Ghana. The people who contracted the virus were unrelated and were located in different parts of the Ashanti region of Ghana. Amuasi said. They both died.

According to him, both patients were men who worked on farms. One was a 26-year-old laborer who had recently traveled to another part of the country for work, and the other was a 56-year-old subsistence farmer. Contact tracing by local authorities led them to conclude that the men were not in the same places.

Fruit bats, known to carry the virus, are common in the Ashanti region.

More than 200 people died during the outbreak in Angola from 2004 to 2005 and more than 100 people died from the disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1998 to 2000, according to the CDC, according to the CDC. Other outbreaks in Marburg were not associated with as many cases.

In 2021, there was one case in Guinea that resulted in the death of this person, and three of the four people who recovered from the disease in Uganda in 2017 also died. According to the CDC

Experts want to know how these two people contracted the virus in Ghana. Francis Casolo, WHO country representative.

“The current investigation is not only focused on contacts,” the doctor said. Casolo said. “We are also looking at medical records in these areas to see if there were any unusual events in terms of cases that showed symptoms. That is why we refrain from saying that this is just a one-time event.”

The CDC office in Ghana is working with local health authorities to help with testing and epidemiological investigations, the doctor said. Jonathan Towner, Head of Virus Host Ecology at the CDC.

People in the United States are not at high risk of infection, doctor. Towner said.

“The likelihood of a risk at the moment that some travelers, for example, will come to the country with Marburg right now, is very, very small,” he said.

So far Dr. According to Amuasi, the public health response was adequate and transparent. Contacts of two infected people were monitored, especially within 21 days after their death.