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World Health Organization Confirms Ebola-Like Marburg Virus Outbreak In Ghana

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World Health Organization Confirms Ebola-Like Marburg Virus Outbreak In Ghana

The World Health Organization has confirmed an outbreak of the Ebola-like Marburg disease in Ghana.

According to the BBC, health officials of the West African nation confirmed two patients who recently died in hospital were carrying the disease.

Their virus samples both came back positive in hospital, and, after being sent to a laboratory in Senegal, have now been verified.

Credit: Reuters/Alamy.
Credit: Reuters/Alamy.
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The first case was a 26-year-old man who checked into hospital on June 26 and passed away a day later, while the second was a 51-year-old male who checked in on June 28 and died on the same day.

The WHO confirmed that both men had checked into the same hospital.

“Preparations for a possible outbreak response are being set up swiftly as further investigations are underway,” the WHO said.

They say 98 people are now under quarantine after showing symptoms of the virus. 

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The Marburg virus lives in the same family as Ebola and is spread to people by fruit bats.

The main form of transmission between people is by being in direct contact with bodily fluids containing the disease. 

It is an often fatal virus that results in serious symptoms such as headache, fever, muscle pains, vomiting blood and bleeding.

The WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti said, via ABC News: "Health authorities have responded swiftly, getting a head start preparing for a possible outbreak.

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Credit: BSIP SA / Alamy
Credit: BSIP SA / Alamy

"This is good because without immediate and decisive action, Marburg can easily get out of hand.

"WHO is on the ground supporting health authorities and now that the outbreak is declared, we are marshalling more resources for the response."

Individual cases of Marburg have appeared in Angola, Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda, however, this is just the second time the disease has been detected in West Africa.

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A single case was detected in Guinea last year according to The WHO, with an outbreak declared five weeks later. 

The disease has a history of being potentially very deadly, with case fatality rates from previous outbreaks ranging from 24 per cent to 88 per cent. 

The most fatal outbreak happened in Angola in 2005 when the virus killed more than 200 people. 

The first ever outbreak took place in Germany in 1967 when seven people died from the virus. 

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There are no current approved vaccines or treatments for the virus, however, doctors say increased water intake improves chances of survival.

Featured Image Credit: BSIP SA / Alamy. REUTERS / Alamy.

Topics: Science, Health

Jayden Collins
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