After the Corona-virus pandemic and the rise of monkey pox cases, news of another virus can trigger nerves globally. The highly infectious Marburg virus has been reported in the West African country of Ghana this week, according to the World Health Organization.
Two unrelated people died after testing positive for Marburg in the southern Ashanti region of the country, the WHO said Sunday, confirming lab results from Ghana’s health service. The highly infectious disease is similar to Ebola and has no vaccine.
Health officials in the country say they are working to isolate close contacts and mitigate the spread of the virus, and the WHO is marshaling resources and sending bio-warfare specialists to the country.
Health authorities have responded swiftly, getting a head start preparing for a possible outbreak. This is good because without immediate and decisive action, Marburg can easily get out of hand.
Fatality rates from the disease can reach nearly 90%, according to the WHO. Marburg is a rare but highly infectious viral hemorrhagic fever and is in the same family as Ebola, a better-known virus that has plagued West Africa for years.
The Marburg virus is a genetically unique zoonotic RNA virus of the filo-virus family, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The six species of Ebola virus are the only other known members of the filo-virus family.
Fatality rates range from 24% to 88%, according to the WHO, depending on the virus strain and quality of case management.
Marburg has probably been transmitted to people from African fruit bats as a result of prolonged exposure from people working in mines and caves that have Rousettus bat colonies. It is not an airborne disease.
Once someone is infected, the virus can spread easily between humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people such as blood, saliva or urine, as well as on surfaces and materials.
Relatives and health workers remain most vulnerable alongside patients, and bodies can remain contagious at burial.
The first cases of the virus were identified in Europe in 1967. Two large outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany, and in Belgrade, Serbia, led to the initial recognition of the disease.
At least seven deaths were reported in that outbreak, with the first people infected having been exposed to Ugandan imported African green monkeys or their tissue while conducting lab research, the CDC said.
Cases of Marburg have previously been reported elsewhere in Africa, including in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The largest outbreak killed more than 200 people in Angola in 2005.
The illness begins “abruptly,” according to the WHO, with a high fever, severe headache and malaise. Muscle aches and cramping pains are also common features.
The Post Most / ABC Flash Point News 2022.