Ghana is preparing for a possible outbreak after the infectious and deadly Marburg virus was detected in the country for the first time, according to the United Nation’s news release.
“Preliminary findings of two Marburg virus cases have prompted Ghana to prepare for a potential outbreak of the disease,” the UN said in a statement. “If confirmed, these would be the first such infections recorded in the country and only the second in West Africa.”
Two unrelated patients from the southern region of Ashanti suffered from diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting. They have both died.
Samples taken from two patients by the country’s Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research were found to be positive for Marburg. These samples have been forwarded to the Institut Pasteur in Senegal, a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center, for confirmation.
According to WHO, human infection with Marburg virus disease initially results from prolonged exposure to mines or caves inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies.
Ghana Health Service Official released a statement regarding the suspected Marburg virus disease.
“In addition, 34 contacts of the two cases have been identified and are currently under quarantine and being monitored by the Ashanti Regional Health Directorate of the Ghana Health Service. The Ashanti Regional Health Directorate with support from the Ghana Health Service Headquarters is currently conducting further investigations on the cases and contacts,” the Ghana Health Service said in a statement.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also tweeted that WHO is preparing for possible outbreak response.
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The WHO is sending experts to support Ghanaian health officials and track down the close contacts of the victims.
A deadly cousin of Ebola, Marburg kills between a quarter and 90 per cent of everyone who gets infected.
The highly-infectious pathogen has been touted as the next big pandemic threat, with the WHO describing it as ‘epidemic-prone’.
Infected patients become ‘ghost-like’, often developing deep-set eyes and expressionless faces. This is usually accompanied by bleeding from multiple orifices — including the nose, gums, eyes and vagina.
There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus so doctors have to rely on intravenous drips to improve symptoms.
A range of potential treatments, including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are still being developed.
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