Health authorities in Guinea have confirmed a case of Marburg virus disease in southern Gueckedou Prefecture. This is the first time Marburg, a highly contagious disease that causes hemorrhagic fever, has been identified in the country and West Africa, says the World Health Organization (WHO). In a press release, the WHO for Africa says that Marburg, which belongs to the same family as the Ebola virus, was discovered less than two months after Guinea declared the end of an Ebola outbreak. Samples from a patient who has since died and were tested by a field laboratory in Gueckedou and the national laboratory for hemorrhagic fever in Guinea were positive for the Marburg virus. Further analyzes by the Pasteur Institute in Senegal confirmed the result.
“We applaud the vigilance and rapid investigative action of Guinea health workers. The potential for the Marburg virus to spread widely means that we have to stop it, ”said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. « We are working with health authorities to implement a rapid response that builds on Guinea’s previous experience and expertise in dealing with Ebola that is being transmitted in a similar manner. »
A first team of 10 WHO experts, including epidemiologists and social anthropologists, are on-site to investigate the case and support national health authorities in rapidly stepping up emergency response, including risk assessment, disease monitoring, community mobilization, testing and clinical care, infection prevention as well as logistical support.
In Africa, previous outbreaks and sporadic cases have been reported from Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda.
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