Marburg Virus Disease Outbreak Confirmed in Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first-ever Marburg virus disease (MVD) outbreak today. This highly infectious virus causes hemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88%.
MVD is in the same virus family that causes Ebola virus disease.
Preliminary tests carried out following the deaths of at least nine people in the country's western Kie Ntem Province turned out positive for MVD, wrote the World Health Organization (WHO) on February 13, 2023.
So far, nine deaths and 16 suspected cases with symptoms including fever, fatigue, blood-stained vomit, and diarrhea have been reported.
Advance teams have been deployed in the affected districts to trace contacts, isolate and provide medical care to people showing disease symptoms.
Efforts are also underway to rapidly mount an emergency response, with WHO deploying health emergency experts in epidemiology, case management, infection prevention, laboratory, and risk communication to support the national response efforts and secure community collaboration in outbreak control.
The WHO is also facilitating the shipment of laboratory glove tents for sample testing and one viral hemorrhagic fever kit that includes personal protective equipment that 500 health workers can use.
"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 that we save lives and halt the virus as soon as possible," commented Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in a related press release.
The virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces, and materials.
As of February 13, 2023, no vaccines or antiviral treatments have been U.S. FDA-approved to treat this severe virus.
However, several vaccine candidates are being evaluated, such as the Sabin Vaccine Institute's ChAd3-MARV and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases phase 1 study.
Additionally, the U.S. CDC recommends several vaccinations before visiting Equatorial Guinea.