The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced an end to a nearly four-month outbreak of Marburg virus in Equatorial Guinea, claiming the disease, a cousin of Ebola, has killed 35 people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared in a statement that the Marburg virus disease outbreak in Equatorial Guinea ended today June 9, 2023 with no new cases reported over the past 42 days after the last patient was discharged from treatment.
The highly virulent microbe causes severe fever, often accompanied by bleeding and organ failure.
It is part of the so-called filovirus family that includes Ebola hemorrhagic fever, which has caused several deadly epidemics in western and central Africa.
The outbreak, declared on 13th February, was the first of its kind in Equatorial Guinea, a small coastal state in central-western Africa.
The WHO said a total of 17 laboratory-confirmed cases and 12 deaths were recorded. All the 23 probable cases reported died.
Four patients recovered from the virus and have been enrolled in a survivor’s programme to receive psychosocial and other post-recovery support.
The statement paid tribute to local health workers and support by partner organizations for the “hard work” in tackling the outbreak, much of which entails tracing and isolating people in contact with patients.
The outbreak in Equatorial Guinea coincided with that on the other side of the continent, in Tanzania.
Six people died in a two-month episode, which was formally declared over on 2nd June.
The first outbreak of Marburg in Africa was recorded in South Africa in 1975.
Outbreaks have been also reported in Kenya, Angola, Ghana, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, as well as Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania this year.
The suspected natural source of the virus is the African fruit bat, which carries the pathogen but does not fall sick from it.
Fatality rates in confirmed cases have ranged from 24 percent to 88 percent in previous outbreaks, depending on the virus strain and case management, according to WHO.
There are currently no vaccines or antiviral treatments, but potential treatments, including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies, as well as early candidate vaccines, are being evaluated.