MARBURG VIRUS: ALL ABOUT THIS DISEASE THAT KILLED NINE PEOPLE IN EQUATORIAL GUINEA
what is MARBURG VIRUS
An emergency meeting was held this Tuesday, February 14, 2023 under the aegis of the WHO, following the death of nine people in just one month in Equatorial Guinea, all affected by the Marburg virus, a hemorrhagic fever almost as deadly than Ebola.
The health alert has been declared. Following the death of nine people in just one month in Equatorial Guinea, suffering from the sz Marburg virus, a hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola, the WHO declared an emergency meeting this Tuesday, February 14, 2023.
In a brief press release, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that it would convene during the day “an emergency meeting” of the so-called Marvac consortium which promotes international collaboration for the development of vaccines against the Marburg virus. At 3 p.m., representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, non-profit organizations, authorities and the academic world took stock of the epidemiological situation in the country, but also concerning the potential treatments for the virus.
And for good reason, the cases and deaths recorded in Equatorial Guinea sound, for the WHO, Ia “very first epidemic of Marburg virus disease” in this African country located in the center-west of the continent.
In particular, the country declared a “health alert” in the province of Kie-Ntem and in the (neighbouring) district of Mongomo, and the authorities implemented a containment plan in close collaboration with the WHO to deal with the the epidemic. These are “4,325 people (who) are in quarantine in Nkie-Ntem” according to the Minister of Health, Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekab.
WHAT IS MARBURG VIRUS DISEASE?
Marburg virus disease is a very virulent and dangerous haemorrhagic fever for humans. In addition, case fatality rates are very high, having ranged from 24% to 88% in previous epidemics, depending on the viral strain and case management, according to the WHO.
This disease was first discovered in Marburg (Germany) in the 1960s. Researchers suddenly fell ill while working on a vaccine based on monkey cells. They are considered the first cases of Marburg virus disease.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS ?
Marburg virus disease is rather difficult to identify, because the symptoms are similar to those of other tropical diseases, such as Ebola or malaria
Indeed, so far, in addition to the nine deaths, 16 suspected cases with symptoms such as fever, fatigue, bloody vomiting and diarrhea have been reported, the WHO regional office in Africa said on Monday. .
The first symptom felt is usually fever, arriving suddenly and with high intensity. The patient may also have intense headaches, sometimes causing discomfort.
HOW IS THE DISEASE TRANSMITTED?
The Marburg virus is transmitted to humans by fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, such as blood, urine or semen for example. People can also be affected by direct contact with infected surfaces or materials.
For the moment, this disease is mainly present on the African continent. Epidemic outbreaks have been declared in the past in South Africa, Angola, Uganda , and more recently in Ghana.
IS THERE A TREATMENT?
For the moment, no vaccine against Marburg virus disease exists, despite the first finding of the disease more than sixty years ago. In order to limit the disease as much as possible, the patients follow oral or intravenous rehydration treatments, but also the treatment of certain specific symptoms makes it possible to increase the chances of survival.
According to the WHO, a series of potential treatments, including blood products, immune therapies and drugs, as well as candidate vaccines with phase 1 data are being evaluated.
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