Marburg disease is ravaging Western Africa, with the World Health Organization confirming Equatorial Guinea is experiencing its first-ever outbreak. So far, the African country has reported nine deaths and 16 suspected cases.
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After analyzing samples in a Senegal lab, the WHO confirmed the presence of an Ebola-like condition. The organization said it sent experts and protective equipment to assist officials with the outbreak, which had already resulted in nine deaths and 16 suspected cases of symptoms such as fever, fatigue, diarrhea, and vomiting as of Monday.
“Marburg is exceptionally contagious. Because of the Equatorial Guinean authorities’ quick and decisive action in confirming the disease, emergency response can ramp up quickly, saving lives. We must stop the virus as soon as possible,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
On Monday, the WHO declared an outbreak. On the same day, officials in Cameroon announced the discovery of two virus cases, according to Reuters. The incidents occurred in Olamze, which borders Equatorial Guinea.
According to public health delegate Robert Mathurin Bidjang, the patients are a boy and a girl, both 16, and officials have identified 42 contacts.
“As you know, contact tracing is a cornerstone of the response,” WHO’s Equatorial Guinea representative told Reuters. “We redeployed the COVID-19 teams that were there for contact tracing and quickly retrofitted them to assist us.”