Guinea confirms first case of deadly Marburg virus in West Africa

Marburg virus. [Courtesy]

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday reported a case of Marburg virus disease in Guinea, West Africa

Guinea Health officials said this is the first time Marburg, a highly infectious disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, has been identified in the country, and in West Africa.

According to WHO, the virus was detected less than two months after Guinea declared an end to Ebola outbreak that erupted early 2021.

Samples were taken from a dead patient and tested at Guinea’s national haemorrhagic fever laboratory, which turned out positive.

In a statement yesterday, WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said they are working on a rapid response to deal with the virus which spreads in similar fashion as the Ebola.

“We applaud the alertness and the quick investigative action by Guinea’s health workers. The potential for the Marburg virus to spread far and wide means we need to stop it in its tracks.” 

The Organization’s Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in agreement tweeted: “Response requires a concerted effort to prevent transmission and protect communities.”

Efforts are underway to trace other people who may have been in contact with the patient.

WHO says that the virus- 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.

Illness begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache and malaise. Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic signs within seven days. Case fatality rates have varied from 24 per cent to 88 per cent in past outbreaks depending on virus strain and case management.

Additional information from World Health Organization (WHO).