World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the preliminary discovery of two cases of highly contagious Marburg virus disease in Ghana, the first such case in the country if confirmed. In the same family as the more well-known Ebola virus disease, Marburg is a highly infectious viral hemorrhagic fever. Two patients were confirmed to have Marburg virus by Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, based on preliminary analysis of samples taken from the patients.
According to standard procedure, the samples were sent to the Institut Pasteur, a WHO Collaborating Centre, in Senegal for confirmation. Symptoms of the two deceased patients of the southern Ashanti region, who were unrelated, included diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting. In the Ashanti region, they were taken to a district hospital. Further investigations are underway, so preparations for a possible outbreak response are being made as quickly as possible.
“The health authorities are on the ground investigating the situation and preparing for a possible outbreak response. We are working closely with the country to ramp up detection, track contacts, be ready to control the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Francis Kasolo, WHO Representative in Ghana.