Equatorial Guinea confirms outbreak of deadly Marburg virus, reports 9 casualties
Equatorial Guinea has announced its first outbreak of the Marburg virus, a hemorrhagic fever nearly as deadly as Ebola, the World Health Organization (WTO) confirmed 13 February.
Nine people have died of Marburg virus disease in Equatorial Guinea, a small central African country of about 1.6 million. A health alert had been declared in Kie-Ntem province and the neighboring district of Mongomo, after consulting with the WTO and the United Nations, and both regions were quarantined to contain the “epidemic,” the health minister, Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba, said at a press conference. Last week, the government announced it was investigating suspected cases of hemorrhagic fever. Only three people with “mild symptoms” of the disease “which are evolving favorably” are currently isolated in a hospital in this sparsely populated rural area bordering Gabon and Cameroon, according to the minister.
Coming from the same family of viruses as Ebola, the Marburg virus is highly infectious and has a fatality rate of up to 88% and spreads from person to person through direct contact with bodily fluids, WHO said. Symptoms consist of high fever and severe headache, with many patients developing hemorrhagic symptoms within seven days. WHO said officials have been deployed in Equatorial Guinea to “trace contacts, isolate and provide medical care to people showing symptoms of the disease.”