Africa

Ghana reports 1st outbreak of Marburg virus: WHO

More than 90 contacts identified, including health workers and community members

James Tasamba   | 18.07.2022
Ghana reports 1st outbreak of Marburg virus: WHO

KIGALI, Rwanda

Health officials in Ghana and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday announced the country’s first two cases of the Marburg virus disease after laboratory tests confirmed earlier results.

The outbreak involved two patients from the country’s southern Ashanti region who showed symptoms including diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting, the WHO said in a statement.

One case was a 26-year-old male who checked into a hospital on June 26 and died the next day.

The second case was a 51-year-old male who was admitted to the same hospital on June 28 and died the same day.

The two men are unrelated.

The laboratory tests corroborated the results, which suggested their illness was due to the Marburg virus, according to the WHO.

“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. The WHO is on the ground supporting health authorities and now that the outbreak is declared, we are marshaling more resources for the response,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

The WHO has been supporting a joint national investigative team in the Ashanti region as well as Ghana’s health authorities by deploying experts.

More than 90 contacts, including health workers and community members, have been identified and are being monitored, it said.

Marburg is a highly infectious viral hemorrhagic fever in the same family as the more well-known Ebola virus disease.

It is only the second time the zoonotic disease has been detected in West Africa.

Guinea confirmed a single case in an outbreak that was declared over in September 2021, five weeks after the initial case was detected.

Previous outbreaks and sporadic cases of Marburg in Africa have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda.

The WHO said it has reached out to neighboring high-risk countries and they are on alert.

Marburg is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials.

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