Two Ghanaians Test Positive for Marburg Virus…
On Thursday, July 7th, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement saying the Marburg virus, which causes a highly infectious disease similar to Ebola, was found in two Ghanaians. The two infected individuals were unrelated and transferred to the hospital after demonstrating symptoms very similar to those of the Ebola virus.
They were taken to different hospitals in the Ashanti region, in the south of Ghana. The individuals were tested for the virus and tested positive, with both passing away shortly after.
An analysis of the samples taken from both individuals by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Ghana discovered both patients to have been positive for the Marburg virus.
As per regular protocol, the samples have been sent to the Institut Pasteur in Senegal, a WHO Collaborating Center, for verification.
Symptoms of the Marburg virus exhibited by both individuals included diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
As news breaks of the virus being present in Ghana, quick preparations are being made for a potential outbreak response as more research is being done.
Marburg virus and the Ebola virus are in the same family of hemorrhagic diseases. The infection is known to be severe and fatal with a fast onset of symptoms after exposure.
According to WHO Representative in Ghana Dr. Francis Kasolo, “The health authorities are on the ground investigating the situation and preparing for a possible outbreak response.” Kasolo further said, “We are collaborating closely with the country to increase detection, trace contacts, and be ready to control the spread of the virus.”
Still on Marburg Virus Outbreak in Ghana…
WHO is sending specialists to support Ghana’s health authorities by enhancing disease surveillance, testing, tracing contacts, and preparing to treat patients. They are also working with communities to inform and educate them about the risks and hazards of the disease, transmission vessels, and collaborating with emergency response teams.
If confirmed by the Senegal Institut Pasteur, these cases will be the second time the Marburg virus has been found in West Africa. Guinea experienced an outbreak of the virus in September 2021. The virus was confirmed after five weeks of an outbreak following the first case of the virus.
The virus was first detected in 1967. Since then, there have been twelve reported outbreaks of the Marburg virus, predominantly in southern and eastern Africa.
Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda are among the African nations where Marburg outbreaks and isolated cases have been documented. 31 individuals in Germany became sick after contracting the virus from lab monkeys that were imported from Uganda.
More insights on the Virus…
The Marburg virus is transmitted among people by direct contact with the body fluids of those who are affected, as well as by exposure to infected surfaces, materials, and fruit bats, as well as exposure to caves or mines.
The rapid onset of illness begins with a notably severe headache and a high fever. Within seven days, many individuals experience severe hemorrhagic symptoms such as internal bleeding, external bleeding, and organ failure, resulting in death similar to the Ebola virus.
Patient fatality rates in previous epidemics ranged from 24 to 88 percent, depending on the virus strain and case care.
Even though there are no licensed vaccines or antiviral medications to treat the virus, there are care plans such as treating specific symptoms and rehydrating with oral or intravenous fluids that improve the chances of survival.
A variety of possible treatments for the virus are being developed and examined in the wake of a possible outbreak, including immunological therapy and pharmacological therapies.