A “high” threat at the national and regional level but “low” at the international level: such is the assessment given by the World Health Organization (WHO) to the first case of Marburg virus disease registered in Guinea.
This highly virulent disease that causes hemorrhagic fever, severe headaches and possible malaise, belongs to the same family as the virus responsible for Ebola. The case was detected in Guéckédou prefecture, in southern Guinea, in a village located in a forested region near the borders of Sierra Leone and Liberia. This is a man who died on August 2 and whose symptoms date back to July 25 according to the WHO.
“Marburg virus disease […] it was detected less than two months after Guinea declared the end of the Ebola epidemic that had broken out at the beginning of the year, ”stressed the WHO African office.
“The investigation started on August 4 into the case did not reveal a suspected case of Marburg fever. However, 155 contact cases have been cataloged and followed daily, ”said the Guinean government.
Three relatives of the deceased patient and a health worker have been identified as high-risk close contacts and their health is being monitored, while investigations are being carried out to identify the origin of the infection and other contacts of the “index case”, according to the WHO.
Marburg virus disease is transmitted to humans through fruit bats and is transmitted to humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people or with surfaces and materials. Previous outbreaks and sporadic cases have been reported in South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but this is the first time the virus has been detected in West Africa.
Although there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus, oral or intravenous rehydration and treatment of specific symptoms improve survival rates.