Equatorial Guinea confirms first Marburg virus disease outbreak in country

Equatorial Guinea confirms first Marburg virus disease outbreak in country – WHO – Portal.com

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 13 (Portal) – Equatorial Guinea has confirmed its first outbreak of Marburg virus, a highly contagious and deadly disease similar to Ebola, after the death of at least nine people, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

The small Central African country quarantined more than 200 people and restricted movement in its Kie-Ntem province last week after being diagnosed with an unknown hemorrhagic fever. Neighboring Cameroon also restricted movement along its border over contagion concerns. In addition to the nine deaths, Equatorial Guinea has reported 16 suspected cases of Marburg virus, with symptoms including fever, fatigue and blood-stained vomiting and diarrhea, the WHO said.

Marburg virus disease can have a mortality rate of up to 88%, according to the WHO. There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved for treatment.

The deaths have been tentatively linked to a funeral service in Nsok Nsomo district of Kie-Ntem province, Equatorial Guinea’s Health Minister Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba said on Friday. Local health authorities first reported an unknown disease causing cases of hemorrhagic fever on Feb. 7 and sent samples to a laboratory in Senegal, which was able to confirm one positive for Marburg virus disease, the WHO said. The teams conduct contact tracing and isolate and treat suspected cases.

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“Thanks to the Equatorial Guinean authorities’ swift and decisive action in confirming the disease, emergency response can quickly ramp up,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in the statement.

Reporting by Nellie Peyton and Anait Miridzhanian; Edited by Chris Reese and Caitlin Webber

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