7 dead as Marburg virus outbreak takes hold in Equatorial Guinea

7 dead as Marburg virus outbreak takes hold in Equatorial Guinea

Virus outbreak - Image PeopleImages.com - Yuri A

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that an outbreak of the Marburg virus had been detected in Equatorial Guinea in two districts bordering Cameroon and Gabon.

A tweet by the organisation on Wednesday, February 15 said that this is the first time the virus had been detected in the country.

A meeting convened by WHO highlighted the lack of vaccines saying: “There are currently no approved vaccines or treatments for Marburg virus disease, and few are in development.

According to the WHO nine deaths have been reported with 16 suspected cases being treated. They add: “Marburg virus is a highly virulent disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent.

“It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola virus disease. Illness caused by Marburg virus begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache and severe malaise.

“Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic symptoms within seven days. The virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials.”

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa said that a full emergency response is underway and efforts are being made to stop the spread of the virus.

But he added: “There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus. However, supportive care – rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids – and treatment of specific symptoms, improves survival.”

According to the a range of potential treatments, including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies, as well as candidate vaccines with phase 1 data are being evaluated. The hope is that they will either be effective in dealing with the Marburg virus outbreak or will be developed in time to stop its spread.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Author badge placeholder
Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.