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WHO reports the first-ever Marburg virus illness epidemic in Equatorial Guinea

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that Equatorial Guinea has identified its first case of the Marburg virus, a fatal and extremely contagious illness related to Ebola, following the passing of at least nine persons.


Following the discovery of an unidentified hemorrhagic fever last week in its Kie-Ntem district, the tiny Central African nation isolated more than 200 individuals and limited travel. Due to fears about infection, neighbouring Cameroon also imposed travel restrictions along its border. The WHO noted that in addition to the nine fatalities, Equatorial Guinea has reported 16 probable cases of the Marburg virus, which can cause symptoms including fever, tiredness, vomiting blood, and diarrhoea. 


The WHO estimates that the mortality rate for Marburg virus sickness might reach 88%. There are no licensed vaccinations or antiviral medications to treat it.


Initially, the deaths have been connected to a burial service in the Nsok Nsomo area of the Kie-Ntem province, according to the health minister of Equatorial Guinea, Mitoha Ondo'o Ayekaba. On February 7, local health officials first reported occurrences of an unidentified sickness producing hemorrhagic fever. They then submitted samples to a laboratory in Senegal, which was able to identify one patient as having the Marburg virus disease, according to the WHO. It stated that the teams are locating contacts, treating suspected cases, and isolating them.


The WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, noted in the statement that "emergency response can go to full speed fast thanks to the swift and decisive action by the Equatorial Guinean authorities in verifying the disease."

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