Marburg Outbreak in Tanzania, 5 Confirmed Dead


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The World Health Organization (WHO) reported Tuesday that five individuals have died in Tanzania as a result of the Marburg virus disease after an outbreak in the nation’s northwestern Kagera region.

The first-ever cases of Marburg virus disease, a high-fatality viral haemorrhagic fever with symptoms broadly similar to those of Ebola, were confirmed after Tanzania’s health authorities carried out laboratory tests on a reported strange disease which had infected over eight people.

“The investigation of the National Laboratory has confirmed the presence of the Marburg virus that causes Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) in the Kagera region,” said the health ministry in a statement on Tuesday.

The patients had developed symptoms including fever, vomiting, bleeding and renal failure.
“Five of the eight cases, including a health worker, have died and the remaining three are receiving treatment,” WHO said.

A total of 161 contacts have been identified and are being monitored.
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, said efforts by Tanzania’s health authorities to establish the cause of the disease signified the determination to effectively respond to the outbreak.

“We are working with the government to rapidly scale up control measures to halt the spread of the virus and end the outbreak as soon as possible,” Moeti said.
WHO said it is supporting the country’s Health Ministry to deploy an emergency team to Kagera to carry out further epidemiological investigations.

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.
Marburg, which has a fatality rate as high as 88 percent and is spread by fruit bats, is in the same viral family as Ebola. Following that, it spreads through interaction with bodily fluids from infected individuals.

According to WHO, symptoms include high fever, severe headache and malaise, which typically develop within seven days of infection.

Equatorial Guinea is also battling its first-ever outbreak of Marburg that was confirmed in February, where it has killed at least nine people.

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