WHO is concerned about the Marburg virus outbreak in Guinea

It is the slightly less deadly cousin of the Ebola virus … West Africa recorded its first case of the Marburg virus in Guinea earlier this month, against which there is no vaccine or treatment. It manifests as an acute fever accompanied by internal and external bleeding that results in death in 50% of cases on average.

The virus, which is transmitted by bats, was discovered in samples taken from a man who died on August 2 in Guéckédou prefecture (south), in a village in a forest region near the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia.

His symptoms began on July 25, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“So far, there have been no other Marburg cases since the index case that was confirmed on August 9,” a spokesman for the health agency in Geneva, Fadela Chaib, said at the time at a press conference.

So far 150 contact cases have been identified, he said. The incubation period (the time between infection and the onset of symptoms) ranges from 2 to 21 days. “We have entered the critical period in which anyone exposed to the virus is more likely to develop symptoms. Therefore, surveillance is particularly important at this time and teams are monitoring the contacts twice a day, ”explained Fadela Chaib.

“Suspicious case detection tests are also being conducted,” while “efforts continue to locate people who may have been in contact with the deceased patient,” he said.

Cross-border surveillance has been strengthened. As of August 11, about 200 people had been examined in this way, according to the specialized UN agency.

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There is no approved vaccine or treatment to date. Various treatments based on blood products, immune therapies and drug treatments are being developed, the WHO said.

Case fatality rates have ranged from 24% to 88% in previous outbreaks, depending on the virus strain and case management.

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