Status: 03/23/2023 5:37 PM
Widespread spread of the Ebola-associated Marburg virus in Equatorial Guinea. There have been isolated cases, many people have already died. The World Health Organization is sending more experts to the region.
The deadly Marburg virus, related to the Ebola virus, continues to spread in Equatorial Guinea. The World Health Organization said that in the central African country, cases have now been recorded as far as 150 kilometers away, indicating greater spread.
Of the nine laboratory-confirmed patients, seven have died so far. There are also 20 other dead people who may have been wounded as well. In order to avoid a large-scale epidemic, “intensive countermeasures” are urgently needed, according to the World Health Organization.
Many patients die
Marburg virus causes a life-threatening fever with symptoms such as convulsions, bloody vomiting, and diarrhea. It is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids from infected people or through surfaces such as contaminated bed sheets. Depending on treatment options, up to 88 percent of those infected die.
The virus got its name because it was identified in 1967 during an outbreak in Marburg, Hesse. The laboratory staff also infected infected test monkeys. The virus may have originated in flying foxes associated with bats.
Possible vaccines are being tested
According to the World Health Organization, there are no approved vaccines or medicines yet. However, vaccine candidates have been developed for testing in the recent outbreak. According to the World Health Organization, only approval from local governments is required to start testing.
WHO wants to send more experts
Because of the outbreak in Central Africa, the WHO classifies the risk to the region with neighboring countries Gabon and Cameroon as medium and Equatorial Guinea as high. Nearly 1.5 million people are among the world’s poorest. The WHO now wants to send additional experts such as epidemiologists and health workers to the region – also to prepare Gabon and Cameroon for a potential outbreak and to be able to contain it.
An outbreak was also reported in East African Tanzania on Tuesday, where five people had died according to authorities by then.