Outbreak confirmed of Marburg virus
GS Paper - 3 (Health and Diseases)
The first two cases of the Marburg virus, a highly infectious Ebola-like disease, have been confirmed officially by Ghana after test results were verified by a Senegal laboratory. This outbreak is only the second time that the disease has been detected in West Africa.
What is the Marburg virus disease?
- Marburg virus disease (MVD), earlier known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal hemorrhagic fever, according to the WHO.
- Marburg, like Ebola, is a filovirus; and both diseases are clinically similar.
- Rousettus fruit-bats are considered the natural hosts for Marburg virus. However, African green monkeys imported from Uganda were the source of the first human infection, the WHO points out.
- It was first detected in 1967 after simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany; and in Belgrade, Serbia.
- The disease has an average fatality rate of around 50%. However, it can be as low as 24% or as high as 88% depending on virus strain and case management, says the WHO.
- After the onset of symptoms, which can begin anytime between 2 to 21 days, MVD can manifest itself in the form of high fever, muscle aches and severe headache.
- Around the third day, patients report abdominal pain, vomiting, severe watery diarrhoea and cramping.
- In this phase, the WHO says, the appearance of patients has been often described as “ghost-like” with deep-set eyes, expressionless faces, and extreme lethargy.