Guinea records West Africa's first Marburg virus death, WHO says

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
File: AFP
File: AFP

Health authorities in Guinea have confirmed one death from Marburg virus, a highly infectious hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

It marks the first time that the deadly disease has been identified in West Africa. There have been 12 major Marburg outbreaks since 1967, mostly in southern and eastern Africa.

Guinea's new case was first identified last week, just two months after the country was declared free of Ebola following a brief flare-up earlier this year that killed 12 people.

READ | Internal CDC document warns delta variant more infectious, can spread among vaccinated people - report

The patient, who has since succumbed to the illness, first sought treatment at a local clinic before his condition rapidly deteriorated, the WHO statement said.

Analysts at Guinea's national haemorrhagic fever laboratory and the Institute Pasteur in Senegal later confirmed the Marburg diagnosis.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Regional Director for Africa, said in the statement:

The potential for the Marburg virus to spread far and wide means we need to stop it in its tracks.

"We are working with the health authorities to implement a swift response that builds on Guinea's past experience and expertise in managing Ebola, which is transmitted in a similar way," Moeti said.

Both the Marburg case and this year's Ebola cases were detected in Guinea's Gueckedou district, near the borders with Liberia and Ivory Coast. The first cases of the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic, the largest in history, also were from the same region in Southeastern Guinea's forest region.

Marburg case fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88% in past outbreaks depending on virus strain and case management, WHO said, adding that transmission occurs through contact with infected body fluids and tissue. Symptoms include headache, vomiting blood, muscle pains and bleeding through various orifices.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
15.77
+0.7%
Rand - Pound
19.69
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
16.65
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.09
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.0%
Gold
1,846.66
0.0%
Silver
21.76
0.0%
Palladium
1,970.00
0.0%
Platinum
958.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
112.55
+0.5%
Top 40
61,000
-1.2%
All Share
67,575
-1.0%
Resource 10
72,529
+1.6%
Industrial 25
72,948
-3.9%
Financial 15
15,746
+0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE