Ghana declares its first outbreak of Marburg virus disease, a highly infectious disease similar to Ebola, said the World Health Organization (WHO).
The announcement comes after two unrelated patients from the southern Ashanti region, both of whom later died, tested positive for the virus. One case was a 26-year-old male who checked into a hospital on 26 June 2022 and died on 27 June. The second case was a 51 -year-old male who reported to the hospital on 28 June and died on the same day.
Blood samples were taken from the patients and were sent to the Pasteur Institute in Senegal, which confirmed the results from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research which suggested that the cause of death was the Marburg virus.
Health officials said that 98 people are now under quarantine as suspected contact cases.
As a result, the Ghana Health Service urged the public to avoid mines and caves occupied by fruit bats and to thoroughly cook all meat products before consumption, to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), the Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease that causes hemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent.
The virus can spread from infected animals, including bats. The viral illness hits sufferers suddenly, and its symptoms include high fever, internal and external bleeding, and severe headaches.
Once an individual is infected with Marburg, the virus can spread through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.
No treatment or vaccine exists for Marburg at the moment. However, the WHO said that a patient’s chances of survival can be improved with care including oral or intravenous rehydration and treatment of specific symptoms.
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