Two cases of Marburg virus disease, a hemorrhagic fever almost as deadly as Ebola, have been recorded for the first time in Ghana, health authorities announced on Sunday (July 17).

On July 8, blood samples from two people taken in the southern Ashanti region suggested the Marburg virus and the samples were sent to the Pasteur Institute in Dakar (IDP) for confirmation, the Health Service said. Ghanaian (GHS). “Additional testing at the IDP has corroborated the results,” Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, chief executive of the GHS, said in a statement on Sunday. “This is the first time that Ghana has confirmed [the presence of] the Marburg virus,” he said.

The 98 people identified as contact cases are currently in quarantine, the statement added, adding that no other cases from Marburg have yet been detected among them. Health authorities say they are doing everything to “protect the health of the population”, calling for “everyone’s” cooperation to ensure that the virus is “effectively contained”.

Case fatality rates between 24% and 88%

Marburg virus disease is transmitted to humans by fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people or with surfaces and materials, according to the World Health Organization. health (WHO). The disease begins suddenly, with high fever, intense headaches and possible malaise.

The WHO announced in September 2021 the end of the first episode of the Marburg virus in West Africa, 42 days after the identification of a single case in Guinea. Sporadic outbreaks and cases had in the past been reported elsewhere in Africa, including South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Case fatality rates have ranged from 24% to 88% during these outbreaks, depending on the virus strain and case management, according to the WHO. Although there are no approved vaccines or antiviral treatments to treat the virus, oral or intravenous rehydration and treatment of specific symptoms improve survival rates.