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Marburg Virus Outbreak in Ghana Causes Global Concern

Two Ghana residents infected with the first Marburg Virus outbreak in more than half a century since the virus was first discovered, passed away on June 27 and 28. Ghana announced this tragedy under the conditions of the still worsening Covid 19 pandemic, a resurrection of Polio in New York, as well as the just announced global health emergency: Monkeypox virus. The questions in everyone’s worried minds are: What is Marburg the virus? Could it cause yet another pandemic?


What is the Marburg Virus?

The Marburg virus is a close relative of the infectious Ebola virus, and shares many similarities. The hemorrhagic fever induces symptoms such as high temperature fever, severe headaches, and persistent muscle ache. 


It is usually followed a few days later with painful symptoms like intense stomach aches, liquidy diarrhea, nausea and profuse vomiting. The virus also affects the body’s ability to properly clot blood, meaning that infected patients can easily fall victim to bleeding out from seemingly minor cuts. 


Patients have also been said to sport unwell appearance related symptoms such as sunken in features in the face like eyes and cheeks, lacking expression, and severe lethargy and fatigue. 


According to the World Health Organization, the virus claims the lives of about 50% of those who contract it. However, some strains of the virus have up to 88% in fatality risk. 


Where did it originate from?

The virus was first discovered in 1967 from large scale outbreaks in Germany towns Marburg and Frankfurt, as well as in Belgrade, Serbia. The outbreaks were correlated with laboratories doing studies involving the African green monkey, shipped in from Uganda. 


The virus is also commonly spread by Rousettus fruit bats which act as hosts for the virus. They commonly occupy other African regions where the disease has been tracked such as Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Africa, Guinea, and now Ghana. 


How does it spread?

The virus spreads in a similar way to its cousin, Ebola. It can spread through contact from human to animals such as the African green monkey or Rousettus fruit bats, human to human contact through bodily fluids, as well as contact with contaminated clothing or bedding. 


Luckily, the virus is nowhere near as contagious as Covid 19, so it is unlikely for the virus to potentially cause another global pandemic.

Written and edited by Alyssa Phillips

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Tags: covid19 pandemic health virus ebola monkeypox Marburg virus polio disease infectious


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