Ghana has confirmed two cases of Marburg virus disease, after further testing at the Institute Pasteur in Dakar (IPD), Senegal corroborated earlier results.
On July 7, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) announced the two suspected cases in the Ashanti Region – both deceased and unrelated – after preliminary results from the Noguchi Memorial Institute came out positive.
“The samples were sent to IPD with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) for validation in line with standard practice, this being the first time Ghana has confirmed Marburg Virus Disease,” a statement signed by the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said.
So far, 98 people are now under quarantine as suspected contact cases.
What is Marburg Virus Disease?
“Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88%. It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola virus disease,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
The human infection with Marburg virus disease initially results from prolonged exposure to mines or caves inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies and has a 2 to 21 days incubation period.
Once an individual is infected with the virus, Marburg can spread through human-to-human transmission via direct contact.
Symptoms of the Marburg Virus Disease
Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic manifestations within 7 days, and fatal cases usually have bleeding, often from multiple areas. However, a person with Marburg virus disease may present with:
- High fever
- Severe headache and severe malaise.
- Muscle aches and pains are a common feature.
- Severe watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain and cramping, nausea and vomiting can begin on the third day.
- Bloody Diarrhoea can persist for a week. The appearance of patients at this phase has been described as showing “ghost-like” drawn features, deep-set eyes, expressionless faces and extreme lethargy.
There is as yet no proven treatment available for Marburg virus disease, the World Health Organization has indicated. Supportive care – rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids – and treatment of specific symptoms improve survival.
Meanwhile, a range of potential treatments including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are currently being evaluated.
By: Gifty Tracy Aminu