A fresh outbreak of the incurable Marburg virus has killed nine in Equatorial Guinea. The virus, for which there is no specific treatment, has a mortality rate of up to 88 percent. The African nation is now scrambling to try and contain the outbreak.
This is the first time the Marburg virus has been seen in Equatorial Guinea.
Hundreds of citizens in the country suspected to be infected have been quarantined, and neighboring countries Cameroon and Gabon have restricted movement across their borders to contain the spread.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has sent all teams to Kie Ntem, where all the cases have been reported so far.
The WHO said 16 people had tested positive for the virus.
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The WHO regional director for the WHO, Dr Matshidiso Moeti said: “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 we can save lives and halt the virus as soon as possible.”
The WHO confirmed they were deploying experts to support affected districts in the country, providing testing and contact tracing equipment.
They are also providing medical care to those suffering symptoms of Marburg.
The CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) said: “Supportive hospital therapy should be utilized, which includes balancing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes, maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure, replacing lost blood and clotting factors, and treatment for any complicating infections. “
Symptoms of the virus include severe headaches, fever, diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting. One of the reasons the Marburg virus is difficult to treat alone is because it shares many of its symptoms with other tropical diseases such as Ebola or malaria.
There is currently no cure or treatment for the Marburg virus.
The first outbreak of Marburg was seen in Germany and Serbia in 1967; the virus is named after the location of the first outbreak, the town of Marburg in central Germany.