Two Dead In Ghana In First Outbreak Of Deadly Marburg Virus
Ghana has officially confirmed two cases of the Marburg virus, a highly infectious disease similar to Ebola, its health service said on Sunday, after two people who later died tested positive for the virus earlier this month.
There have been a dozen major Marburg outbreaks since 1967, mostly in southern and eastern Africa. Fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88% in past outbreaks depending on the virus strain and case management, according to the WHO.
It is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials. The two patients in southern Ghana’s Ashanti region both had symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting, before dying in hospital, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement on Monday.
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Marburg virus disease, formerly known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. According to the WHO, it is transmitted to humans from contact with fruit bats, a natural host of the virus, and then spreads from human-to-human through contact with bodily fluids of infected people, and infected surfaces and materials.
Initial symptoms begin abruptly, with high fever, headache and tiredness, with muscle aches and pains a common feature. On the third day of illness, patients can suffer from diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
Between days five and seven, many patients develop severe “haemorrhagic manifestations”, meaning bleeding, with fatal cases usually involving some form of bleeding, often from multiple areas. Patients can start vomiting blood or see it in their faeces, but they can also bleed from the nose, gums, and vagina, according to the WHO.
In fatal cases, death usually occurs around eight or nine days after initial symptoms.
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