The Marburg virus has been observed spreading across Africa

Marburg virus

The WHO convened an emergency meeting earlier this week to discuss a strategy for combating the often-fatal virus. An outbreak of a ‘deadly’ virus with symptoms similar to Ebola is causing concern among African health officials.

On Tuesday, February 14, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened an emergency meeting to discuss the Marburg virus, which is deadly in 88 percent of cases.

Equatorial Guinea has seen cases of the virus for the first time, the Central African country’s first outbreak. Until now, nine people have died due to this fatal illness.

About Marburg virus

Marburg virus is a “virulent” disease that leads to hemorrhagic fever. According to WHO Africa, 88 percent of people face death after contracting it. It was first identified in 1967.

The illness caused by the Marburg virus appears with a high fever, severe headache, and severe malaise. Within seven days, many patients experience severe hemorrhagic symptoms.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, chest pain, sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

WHO’s Response to the Outbreak

Efforts are also being made to expedite an immediate response, along with WHO deploying health emergency experts in epidemiology, case management, infection prevention, laboratory, and risk communication to support national response efforts and secure community collaboration in outbreak control.

The World Health Organization is also assisting shipment of laboratory glove tents for sample testing, with one viral hemorrhagic fever kit that includes personal protective equipment for 500 health workers.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, stated: “Marburg is extremely contagious. Because of the Equatorial Guinean authorities’ quick and decisive action in confirming the disease, emergency response can ramp up quickly, saving lives and halting the virus as soon as possible.”

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