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No new Marburg cases in Guinea; WHO, partners helping with surveillance

Reports from Guinea indicate that since the outbreak and death of one person from Marburg virus disease (MVD) early this month, no new cases have been registered by the close of last week.

Belonging to the same family as Ebola, the Marburg virus disease is a highly infectious disease that causes haemorrhagic fever and is transmitted to humans by fruit bats. 

The outbreak in Guinea was declared on 6 August 2021 when the Ministry of Health informed the World Health Organisation (WHO) of a confirmed case of MVD in Guéckédou Prefecture, Nzérékoré Region in the south-west of the country, near both Sierra Leone and Liberian borders. According to WHO, the Guinea case the first known of MVD in the country and in West Africa.

The WHO reported on Friday 13 August 2021 that 150 identified contacts were being followed up, among them three family members and a health worker, who have been identified as high-risk close contacts.

In a set of tweets, the WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the WHO and partners are supporting Guinea’s Ministry of Health to investigate the source of the Marburg outbreak, trace contacts, and inform the local community about how to protect themselves.

He added: “Marburg is a very different virus to the one that causes COVID-19, but many of the elements of the response are the same: isolating and caring for those infected, tracing and quarantining their contacts, and engaging local communities in the response.”

Briefly, about MVD

Marburg disease has a nearly 90 cent fatality rate, according to WHO.  Currently there is no treatment against it, although vaccines are under development, but rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids and treatment of specific symptoms, improves survival. Previous outbreaks and sporadic cases on the African continent have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. The disease was first recognized in 1967, following two large simultaneous outbreaks in laboratories in the German cities of Marburg, and in Belgrade, capital of the then Yugoslavia. - UN