Home / News / World /  Marburg virus: WHO on alert as Ghana reports 2 suspected cases

Two suspected cases of the Ebola-like Marburg virus disease have been detected in Ghana, said the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday. 

WHO said preliminary analysis of samples taken from two patients from Ghana's southern Ashanti region — both of whom have died — turned positive. 

The samples have, however, been forwarded for full confirmation to the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal, which works with the UN health agency.

“Preparations for a possible outbreak response are being set up swiftly as further investigations are underway," WHO said, adding that it is deploying experts to support health authorities in Ghana.

The two suspected patients had symptoms, including diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting, before dying in hospital.

The health authority informed that if confirmed as Marburg, the cases would mark only the second time that the disease has been detected in West Africa — after Guinea confirmed a single case detected in August. The outbreak in Guinea was declared over five weeks later.

No new suspected cases have been detected in Ghana since the samples were taken two weeks ago, said the country health organisation. 

Previous Marburg outbreaks and individual cases have appeared in Angola, Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, WHO said.

The disease, a very infectious hemorrhagic fever in the same family as Ebola, is spread to people by fruit bats and transmitted among people through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people and surfaces.

Marburg is potentially very harmful and deadly: Case fatality rates in past outbreaks have ranged from 24% to 88%.

With inputs from agencies. 

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