Guinea: A man died of the Marburg virus, similar to Ebola

Guinea’s health authorities confirmed this Monday the first case in the country of Marburg hemorrhagic fever, an Ebola-like virus.

“The case of Marburg fever diagnosed on Tuesday 3 August was reconfirmed by the Pasteur Institute of Dakar (Senegal) on Monday 9 August.” The Guinean Ministry of Health announced in a note, referring to the location where a sample was sent after it was confirmed in two national laboratories.

In its turn, World Health Organization (WHO) noted that “the disease caused by the Marburg virus, which belongs to the same family responsible for Ebola, was detected less than two months after Guinea declared the end of the Ebola epidemic that began earlier in the year.”

The case, which at the moment is described as “isolated” by the Guinean health authorities, was detected in Gueckédou City Hall, in the southern region of Nzérékoré. it’s about a man who died on August 2 and whose symptoms date back to July 25.

“The investigation started on Aug. 5 into the case has not revealed any suspected cases of Marburg fever,” the ministry added, noting that, however, 155 confirmed contacts “are monitored daily” with a duration of 21 days.

WHO specified that three family members of the deceased patient and a health care professional have been identified as high-risk close contacts and are under surveillance while it is about identifying the source of the infection and other contacts.

The patient was seen at a clinic in the town of Koundou, Guéckédou, where a team of medical researchers was sent to study his symptoms.

As a result of what happened, the Guinean Government decided to implement different provisions, such as the awareness of preventive measures, deepen the investigation to identify possible suspected cases and activate the Gueckédou epidemic treatment center to deal with possible positive cases.

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Through his Twitter account, the Director General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, He warned of the need to carry out a “joint effort to prevent transmission and protect communities”.

A first team of ten WHO experts, including epidemiologists and socio-anthropologists, is on-site to support national health authorities. Likewise, cross-border surveillance has been strengthened to detect possible cases and neighboring countries are on the alert.

What is known about the Marburg virus

Marburg fever is as deadly as Ebola and it is estimated that in Africa it was responsible for the death of more than 3,500 people. It is caused by the Marburg virus, from the filoviridae family, the same family to which Ebola belongs.

Thus, it causes sudden bleeding and can cause death within a few days, with an incubation period of 2 to 21 days and one mortality rate between 24% and 88%.

Fruit bats are the natural hosts of this virus, which when transmitted to humans It can be spread through direct contact with fluids such as blood, saliva, vomit or urine.

The disease, for which there is no vaccine or specific treatment, was detected in 1967 in the German city of Marburg – hence its name – by laboratory technicians who became infected while investigating monkeys brought in from Uganda.

The southern region of Nzérékoré was already the source area of ​​the most recent Ebola outbreak in Guinea in early 2021, which culminated in 23 diagnosed cases and 12 deaths.

Also in Guinea, in a village of Gueckédou, the worst Ebola epidemic in history began in December 2013, an outbreak that broke out in several West African countries until 2016 and in which there were at least 11,300 deaths and 28,500 infections. Numbers that, according to WHO, could be conservative.

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