Africa's Marburg Disease Outbreaks Explained
The World Health Organization (WHO) today announced how two African countries have been responding to separate outbreaks of Marburg virus disease (MVD) in 2023.
Initially detected in 1967, MVD is a viral hemorrhagic fever, and infections are often fatal.
In March 2023, the WHO assessed the public health risk posed by the MVD outbreaks in Equatorial Guinea and the United Republic of Tanzania as very high at the national level, high at the sub-regional level, moderate at the regional, and low at the global level.
Additionally, the U.S. CDC recently issued travel advisories for these MVD outbreaks.
In Equatorial Guinea, from February 13 to May 1, 2023, 17 laboratory-confirmed MVD cases and 23 probable cases have been reported. The last confirmed case was reported on April 20. Among the laboratory-confirmed cases, there were 12 deaths (Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) 75%).
For one confirmed case, the outcome is unknown. Among the confirmed cases, four have recovered. However, all of the probable cases are dead.
The most affected district is Bata in Litoral province, with 11 laboratory-confirmed MVD cases reported.
And in the United Republic of Tanzania, between March 16 to April 30, 2023, a cumulative total of nine cases, including eight laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case, have been reported.
The last confirmed case was reported on April 11, 2023. A total of six deaths (CFR 66.7%) have been reported, including one probable case and five among confirmed cases.
Among the confirmed cases, three have recovered. All cases have been reported from Bukoba district, Kagera region.
The WHO says health authorities in both countries have shown strong political commitment.
In recent weeks they have further strengthened critical response functions, such as disease surveillance, including at points of entry; laboratory activities; clinical case management; infection prevention and control; risk communication and community engagement; and operations support and logistics with the backing of WHO and partners.