On February 7, 2023, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Equatorial Guinea reported deaths of many people with suspected hemorrhagic fever. On the other hand, on February 12, 2023, a sample was confirmed positive for the Marburg virus by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) at the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal.
Additional cases are being investigated. The World Health Organization assists with the response by improving contact tracing, case management, infection prevention and control, laboratory testing, risk communication, and community engagement. The outbreak poses a high risk at the national level, a moderate risk at the regional level, and a low risk at the global level, according to WHO.
Analysis of Marburg Virus
Marburg virus is the leading causative agent of Marburg virus disease (MVD) and could be fatal in up to 88% of cases. Marburg virus disease was first identified in 1967, following simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg, Frankfurt, Belgrade, Germany, and Belgrade, Serbia. Fruit bats, Rousettus aegyptiacus, are thought to be natural hosts for the Marburg virus, which is transmitted to humans.
Marburg spreads through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with infected people’s blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids, including surfaces and materials (e.g., bedding, clothing) contaminated with fluids.
Healthcare workers were previously infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed MVD. Burial rites that involve direct contact with the deceased’s body can also aid in the spread of Marburg.
Communities affected by Marburg should make every effort to keep the public informed about the nature of the disease and the necessary outbreak containment measures.
Outbreak containment measures include identifying Healthcare workers who were previously infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed MVD. Burial rites that involve direct contact with the deceased’s body can also aid in the spread of Marburg.
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