Deadly Marburg Virus Recorded In West Africa

The disease has long been occurring in the southern and eastern parts of Africa.

A confirmed case of the Marburg virus has been reported in Guinea, the World Health Organization (WHO)  has said. The country’s health ministry disclosed this to the WHO on Friday, Aug. 6.

According to WHO, the male patient, now deceased, had begun to experience some symptoms as of July 26 and had gone to a health facility close to his village on Aug. 1 but died in his community the following day.

The Marburg virus, a highly contagious disease that causes hemorrhagic fever has been recorded in countries such as Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and South Africa. Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, and gingival hemorrhage.

This would mark the first recorded case in Western Africa. According to WHO, the Guéckédou Prefecture, Nzérékoré Region, south-western Guinea where the virus was reported, is close to the Sierra Leone and Liberia borders.

The Marburg virus, which has a high fatality rate, shares clinical symptoms with other tropical febrile diseases such as Ebola, malaria, typhoid fever, leptospirosis, rickettsial infection, and plague, according to the global health body.

Its similarities with other diseases make it difficult to distinguish from the above mentioned diseases in its early stages.

There is no known treatment for the virus, but “supportive care including: close monitoring of vital signs, fluid resuscitation, electrolyte and acid base monitoring along with management of co-infections and organ dysfunction, are critical components of care and optimise patient outcomes and survival,” the WHO said.

There are fears that a possible importation of disease into Nigeria may put the country at greater risk as it battles a third wave of COVID-19 and cholera outbreak amidst an ongoing doctors’ strike.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is yet to release an advisory on preventing the Marburg virus as of the time of publishing this report.

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Chigozie Victor

Chigozie Victor is a journalist and a creative writer. Her work focuses on SGBV, policy and security infrastructure. The graduate of English and Literature from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka is passionate about helping audiences understand salient issues through clear reporting and multimedia journalism. She tweets at @nwaanyi_manaria

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