The World Health Organization has confirmed the first-ever outbreak of an Ebola-like virus called Marburg disease in Equatorial Guinea, Africa. Currently, nine confirmed deaths and 16 suspected cases of the disease have been confirmed. There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat this virus, yet. “Marburg is highly infectious. Thanks to the rapid and decisive action by the Equatorial Guinean authorities in confirming the disease, emergency response can get to full steam quickly so that we save lives and halt the virus as soon as possible,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Marburg disease: Symptoms, transmission, prevention and more
What is Marburg disease?
Both the Marburg virus and Ebola virus belong to the same Filoviridae family but are caused by different viruses. This virus leads to hemorrhagic fever in humans with a high fatality ratio of up to 88%. It was first detected in 1967 after simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany.
Symptoms of Marburg disease
Marburg leads to symptoms like high fever, severe headaches, muscle aches, severe malaise and pains. After two to three days, the infected individual may experience abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting and severe diarrhea. These symptoms are accompanied by extreme lethargy.
Between day 5th to 7th after getting infected, many patients develop severe hemorrhagic symptoms. According to WHO, fatal cases usually experience bleeding in some form or the other. Severe blood loss and shock lead to death 8 to 9 days after the onset of symptoms.
The incubation period for Marbury disease varies from 2 to 21 days.
Marburg virus spread through human-to-human transmission. Transmission of infected droplets from one person to another via any medium can infect the other person. “Transmission via contaminated injection equipment or through needle-stick injuries is associated with more severe disease, rapid deterioration, and, possibly, a higher fatality rate,” mentions WHO.
However, the virus originates in bats, typically fruit bats, and then spreads to humans.
Prevention of Marbury virus
Steps that can help control human-to-human transmission should be taken. One should not come in contact with an infected person. One should not have any kind of exposure to mines or caves inhabited by fruit bats.
Currently, there is no vaccine or drug to treat this virus. Treatment is given to patients to improve the symptoms.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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