Equatorial Guinea declares end of Marburg outbreak

(Correction: corrects slug)

Nairobi, May 16 (EFE).- Equatorial Guinea’s vice president, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, declared late Monday an end to a Marburg virus outbreak, which caused 17 confirmed cases in the country, including 12 deaths.

“After not registering Marburg infections during the 21 days stipulated by the WHO, and after the excellent work and results obtained in the fight and containment of this virus, I have declared today (Monday) the end of the Marburg virus in Equatorial Guinea!” vice president, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue said on his Twitter account.

A total of 17 laboratory-confirmed cases and 23 probable cases were reported in the Central African country between Feb. 13 – when it declared a Marburg outbreak -, and May 1.

The last confirmed case was reported on Apr. 20, according to the World Health Organization.

Among the 17 confirmed cases, there were 12 deaths and all those considered probable died, the UN agency said in a statement on May 8.

On Apr. 27, the country’s health ministry said that all districts of the province of Kie Ntem in the northeast of the continental region of the country and some districts of Wele-Nzas in the southeast had completed 42 days without a single new case being recorded, a WHO requirement to declare the end of an epidemic.

According to the WHO, before initiating discussion on the 42-day countdown to declare the end of an outbreak, it is recommended that all listed contacts of confirmed or probable cases have completed their 21-day follow-up period with no symptoms.

Tanzania also announced a Marburg outbreak on Mar. 21, the first in its history, with at least eight confirmed cases in the northeast of the country and six deaths.

Marburg is a highly infectious viral hemorrhagic fever, in the same family as the better-known Ebola virus disease.

Before the epidemics in Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania, the most recent outbreak of this disease was detected in Ghana in 2022 with three confirmed infections.

Prior to that, there were cases in Guinea in 2021, in Uganda in 2017, 2014, 2012 and 2007, in Angola between 2004 and 2005, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998 and 2000, in Kenya in 1990, 1987 and 1980 and in South Africa in 1975.

The disease is as deadly as Ebola and is estimated to have killed more than 3,500 people in Africa.

Like Ebola, the Marburg virus causes sudden bleeding and can lead to death within days.

The disease has an incubation period of 2 to 21 days and a mortality rate of up to 88 percent.

Fruit bats are the natural hosts of this virus, which when transmitted to humans can be spread through direct contact with fluids such as blood, saliva, vomit and urine.

The disease, for which there is no vaccine or specific treatment, was detected in 1967 in the German city of Marburg by laboratory technicians who were infected while studying monkeys brought from Uganda. EFE


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