Marburg virus cases confirmed in Ghana following deaths of two men | World News

Two cases of the deadly and highly contagious Marburg virus have been confirmed in Ghana.

The country’s health service said a laboratory had returned positive results from two men, aged 26 and 51, who died last month.

Authorities are quarantining the contacts of the deceased and so far no one has developed symptoms.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the disease has an average mortality rate of 50% in humans and causes severe viral hemorrhagic fever.

It is transmitted by fruit bats and is spread from person to person through bodily fluids and contact with materials such as bedding and clothing.

This is only the second outbreak of Marburg in West Africa. The first case in the region was detected last year in Guinea and no further cases have been identified.

There have been dozens of outbreaks since 1967, mainly in southern and eastern Africa.

“The (Ghana) health authorities responded quickly, starting to prepare for a possible outbreak,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“This is good because without immediate and decisive action, Marburg could easily get out of hand.”

The Marburg virus begins suddenly with symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, and muscle aches.

The WHO says “watery diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea and vomiting may begin on day three”, followed by “serious hemorrhagic manifestations” from day five to seven, may include bleeding from the nose, gums, and vagina.

Death most commonly occurs on the eighth or ninth day after symptoms, after severe blood loss and shock.

Drugs and immunotherapy to treat Marburg are under development but there is no vaccine yet, although early rehydration and treatment of symptoms can improve the chances of survival.

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