January 30, 2023

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WHO announces first suspected case of Marburg virus in Ghana

WHO announces first suspected case of Marburg virus in Ghana


WHO announces first suspected case of Marburg virus in Ghana.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a statement announcing the detection of two suspected cases of Marburg virus (MBV) in Ghana.

They may be the first cases of the highly contagious disease detected in the West African country, pending further laboratory work.


WHO announces first suspected case of Marburg virus in Ghana



Marburg virus is a member of the Filoviridae family. Similar to Ebola, infection with Marburg virus causes severe hemorrhagic fever, with mortality rates ranging from 20% to 80%.


According to WHO, the two potential new cases of MBV are from the Ashanti region in southern Ghana.

The subject was taken to a local hospital in the area with symptoms including diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting.


The two patients were not related and later died of their disease.

Initial analysis of samples taken from the patient was found to be positive for Marburg virus. Standard WHO procedure is that these samples are now sent to a central WHO facility in Senegal for confirmation.


Francis Kasolo, a WHO doctor in Ghana, said contact tracing had begun and preparations were being made for the outbreak.


“Health authorities are on the ground investigating the situation and preparing for a possible outbreak response,” Kasolo said. “We are working closely with the country to ramp up testing, contact tracing, and prepare to control the spread of the virus.”


Before this, Marburg virus had only been detected once in West Africa. In late 2021, a farmer in Guinea died of the infection, however, after months of close monitoring by WHO, no further cases were detected.


The deadly infection has erupted more than a dozen times since it first emerged in the German town of Marburg in 1967.

The worst outbreak occurred in Angola in 2004/05. By the time the outbreak was brought under control, 252 people had been infected, and 90% had eventually died.


Marburg virus is lesser known than its better-known “cousin” Ebola virus, but the two viruses share similar characteristics.

Infection occurs through body fluids and the incubation period can be as long as 5 to 21 days.

Severe bleeding symptoms appear 7 days after symptoms appear, and there are currently no established treatments, vaccines or antivirals.


Global vaccine charity Gavi last year listed Marburg virus as one of several viruses with the potential to cause the next global pandemic.

Although it doesn’t spread through aerosols, Gavi noted that its long incubation period means it could spread rapidly with increased global travel.


“As the outbreaks in Europe and the United States have shown, increasing globalization and international travel means that the risk of global transmission is high, especially when the incubation period can be as long as three weeks,” Gavi explained. “Given its high mortality rate, this could be catastrophic.”





WHO announces first suspected case of Marburg virus in Ghana

(source:internet, reference only)

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