As the WHO issues an alert, experts have cautioned that the Marburg virus is a “scary and deadly” disease.
THE MARBURG VIRUS is “deadly and frightening,” according to an expert who spoke out in 2017 after an epidemic in Uganda, as the World Health Organization raises concerns about a new scare in West Africa.
Guinean health officials have issued a warning about a new case of the Marburg virus, as the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed a death today. This is the first time the virus has been found in Western Africa, and it comes just two months after Guinea declared itself Ebola-free following a rise in cases earlier this year. “The potential for the Marburg virus to spread far and wide means we need to stop it in its tracks,” WHO regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said this week.
“We’re working with the health authorities to put in place a quick response that builds on Guinea’s previous experience and skill in dealing with Ebola, which is spread in a similar way.”
Since 1967, there have been 12 significant Marburg outbreaks, the majority of which have occurred in southern and eastern Africa.
Uganda reported one incident in October 2017; the country has previously experienced four mild outbreaks between 2007 and 2014.
During the 2017 outbreak, only two cases were confirmed, but when they were discovered, one expert summarized why the virus is so feared.
“Marburg is a virus that is in the same family as Ebola, and it basically has very comparable characteristics,” said Amesh Adalja, a spokesman for the Infectious Disease Society of America at the time.
“As a result, it spreads through blood and body fluids and thrives in settings where personnel are unable to effectively control infection and care for patients using proper personal protective equipment.
“Although Marburg is a frightening and fatal disease, it is not particularly communicable.
“You must keep in mind that Uganda has been dealing with Ebola and Marburg epidemics for decades. They’re usually very good at dealing with these situations.
“Unlike Ebola in West Africa, it isn’t wholly foreign.”
The disease was initially found in 1967 in Marburg, Germany, according to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance’s website.
The greatest known Marburg virus outbreak, which occurred in Angola in 2004, infected over 250 persons and resulted in a 90% death rate.
According to the WHO, the fatality rate during outbreaks has ranged from 24% to 88 percent, depending on the virus. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”