The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the health authorities in Guinea have recorded a confirmed case of Marburg virus disease in the Southern Gueckedou Province.
This is the first time the ‘highly infectious’ Marburg virus disease would be identified in West Africa
According to a statement by WHO on Monday, the discovery of this disease is coming less than two months after Guinea declared an end to an Ebola outbreak.
The infected patient, now deceased, is said to have had his samples taken and tested at a field laboratory in Gueckedou, which turned out positive for the virus.
Below are key things to know about the disease:
– Marburg virus is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola and is transmitted in the same ways.
– WHO says Marburg is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials.
– Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, and malaise. Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic signs within seven days.
– The fatality case rates have varied from 24 per cent to 88 per cent in past outbreaks depending on virus strain and case management.
– The incubation period (interval from infection to onset of symptoms) for Marburg virus disease varies from 2 to 21 days.
– There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus.
– It can be difficult to clinically distinguish Marburg virus disease from other infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever, shigellosis, meningitis, and other viral haemorrhagic fevers.
– People remain infectious as long as their blood contains the virus.
– However, supportive care in terms of rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids—and treatment of specific symptoms, improves survival.
– Previous outbreaks in Africa have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda.