The risk of a regional epidemic is high: the highly contagious Marburg virus was detected for the first time in West Africa.
Guinea – It has only been two months since the Ebola outbreak in the small West African country of Guinea was declared over by the WHO. In 16 confirmed infections in the country with a population of 12.5 million, 12 people had died since January. Now the first infection with the highly contagious Marburg virus has become known. The patient in the Guéckedou prefecture in southern Guinea has since passed away.
The Marburg virus is new in West Africa: The virus most recently occurred in the East African state of Uganda. The virus became known in Marburg in 1967 when laboratory workers died there after a high fever. It was believed that infected monkeys were the vectors.
Marburg fever infection is similar to Ebola infection – mortality rate up to 88 percent
The symptoms of an infection with the Marburg virus are similar to those of an Ebola infection: high fever, severe headache and internal bleeding. According to the WHO, up to 88 percent of those infected die. The virus is mainly transmitted through direct contact with body fluids. The disease is extremely dangerous – and so far there are no drugs or vaccines against it.
The Marburg virus is closely related to the Ebola viruses. Experts suspect that initial infections in outbreaks can often be traced back to infected meat from wild animals such as fruit bats.
Marburg virus: this is how Guinea is dealing with the outbreak
The authorities in Guinea are now calling on all residents to report suspected infection. Because apparently there were suspected cases of the so-called hemorrhagic fever (febrile illness with bleeding) since August 4th. The authorities had followed up on the suspected cases, and the first case has now been confirmed.
At least 155 contacts of the deceased patient are currently being reviewed. The government is taking “all appropriate measures” to end the outbreak as soon as possible, “said Health Minister Remy Lamah. The population was called – once again – to be more vigilant. According to the WHO, the risk of a regional epidemic is high – but not the risk of further spread. (dpa / kat)
List of rubric lists: © Bernhard Nocht Institute / dpa