Ghana officially declares end to Marburg virus outbreak

Ghana officially declares end to Marburg virus outbreak

 

Ghana has announced an end to the Marburg virus outbreak two months after the disease was discovered in the country.

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After 42 days, two incubation periods, went by without a new case being reported, the country’s Ministry of Health officially declared an end to the virus.

Ghanaian authorities reported three confirmed cases, including two deaths, when the outbreak was declared on July 7, 2022, following test confirmation of the virus that afflicted the country’s Ashanti, Savannah, and Western regions.

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A total of 198 contacts were identified, monitored and completed their recommended initial 21 days observation period, which was later extended for another 21 days by the Ghanaian health authorities.

The World Health Organisation noted that this was the first time the highly infectious haemorrhagic fever was detected in the West African country.

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Marburg is a highly infectious disease in the same family as Ebola and has a high fatality rate of between 24 percent and 88 percent.

The virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the body fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials. Illness begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache and malaise. Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic signs within seven days, WHO explained.

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“Marburg is a frightening disease as it is highly infectious and lethal. There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments. Any outbreak of Marburg is a major concern,” WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said.

She remarked that despite having no previous experience with the disease, Ghana’s response was rapid and robust.

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“Lives have been saved and people’s health protected, thanks to an effective disease detection in virus and enabled prompt response to curb the spread of infection.”

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Ghana and Senegal’s Institute Pasteur both performed genetic sequence analysis of the Marburg virus, and their findings showed a connection between this most recent outbreak and the case reported in Guinea in 2021.

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However, further investigations are needed to fully understand the origin of the outbreak, which may be due to a shared animal reservoir or population movements between the two countries

WHO stated that it was assisting health authorities in conducting ecological research in order to better understand the disease and forecast and prevent future outbreaks.

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