DAKAR, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Health authorities in Guinea are monitoring 155 people who were exposed to a dead Marburg patient, Marburg is a highly infectious hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola, a World Health Organization official said on Tuesday.
The Marburg case, which the WHO said was the first in West Africa, was confirmed in Gueckedou in southeastern Guinea. The region was the origin of the 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak, the deadliest in history, and saw a brief resurgence of Ebola this year.
Pathogens have tended to cross from animals to humans in the region because of their close interaction, notably in the hunting and eating of “bushmeat” from the wild.
“There is no known secondary case so far … The contacts have been traced, and 155 people are under observation for three weeks,” Ki-Zerbo said in an interview.
“It is active surveillance. The contacts are kept at home, isolated from other members of the family. They are visited every day to check on potential symptoms.”
Guinea was declared free of Ebola two months ago, following an outbreak that killed 12 people.
Marburg fatality rates in past outbreaks have varied from 24% to 88% of those infected.
But Ki-Zerbo said Guinea was better prepared to handle an outbreak than it had been when Ebola struck in 2014.
“Guinea has built a robust health security system since the last Ebola outbreak in 2014 to 2016,” he said, pointing to the use of rapid response teams, disease detectives, epidemiologists and social anthropologists, and better coordination with neighboring countries.
Globally, the approach to combating Marburg would be different from Ebola. The difference is that there is no vaccine or drug specifically directed for Marburg virus if you get Marburg you die bleeding out of your orifices .
This is largely as the virus kills around nine in 10 people it infects, and kills those it has inhabited so quickly, it often doesn’t have a chance to find a new host.
Priya Joi, communications consultant at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, detailed the horrifying scenes as the virus began infecting those, describing their symptoms as having “a high fever, chills, muscle ache, and vomiting”.
Writing in April for her employer, Ms Joi said: “The patients worsened over the next few days, until they began bleeding from every orifice in their body, including needle puncture wounds.
Marburg virus: A new case has been found in West Africa
Ms Jol posed the question as to whether “increasing globalization” could make the Marburg virus “erupt around the world”.
She added: “Marburg virus can persist in the eyes and testes of people who have recovered, and in pregnant women it can persist in the placenta and amniotic fluid as well as breast milk
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