‘Ebola-like’ Marburg virus cases reported in Ghana, WHO declares outbreak in the country

Viruses like Ebola, Marburg virus, Ghana
Image Source: AP ‘Ebola-like’ Marburg virus cases reported in Ghana, WHO declares outbreak in the country

Highlight

  • The World Health Organization has declared the first outbreak of Ebola-like Marburg virus in Ghana.
  • Labs confirmed the infection in two cases announced earlier this month.
  • The first case was of a 26-year-old male, who checked into a hospital on 26 June and died on 27 June.

Marburg virus in Ghana: The World Health Organization has declared the first outbreak of Ebola-like Marburg virus disease in Ghana, following laboratory confirmation of infection in two cases announced earlier this month.

The disease, a highly contagious hemorrhagic fever in the same family as Ebola, is transmitted to people by fruit bats and through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people and surfaces, the WHO said.

Preliminary analysis of samples from two patients from Ghana’s southern Ashanti region – both who died and were unrelated – turned out to be positive, but were sent to the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal for full confirmation. The United Nations health agency’s laboratory confirmed the results from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Ghana, the WHO said in a statement on Sunday.

The first case was of a 26-year-old male, who checked into a hospital on 26 June and died on 27 June.

The other was a 51-year-old male who had gone to the hospital on June 28 and died the same day, the WHO said, adding that both men sought treatment at the same hospital.

“Health officials have responded rapidly, have begun to prepare for a potential outbreak,” said WHO’s regional director for Africa, Dr.
Matshidiso Moeti.

“This is good because without immediate and decisive action, Marburg could easily get out of hand. WHO is supporting health officials and now that the outbreak has been declared, we are marshalling more resources to respond “

The WHO said more than 90 contacts, including health workers and community members, have been identified and are being monitored. Marburg is potentially very harmful and deadly: case fatalities ranged from 24 percent to 88 percent in previous outbreaks.

The outbreak is only the second time the disease has been detected in West Africa – after a single case was confirmed in Guinea in August, according to the WHO.
The outbreak in Guinea was declared five weeks later.

Previous Marburg outbreaks and individual cases have been reported in Angola, Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, the WHO said.

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