What are the symptoms of this disease detected in Africa?

The global health emergency as a result of the novel coronavirus is still in effect. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has sounded the alarm due to outbreaks of monkeypox in several countries around the world. Now, a new concern arises against the Marburg virus.

WHO has reported that suspected cases of people infected with Marburg virus have been identified in Ghana. According to the organization, two infected patients died in the southern Ashanti region; however, no evidence has been collected to demonstrate a link between the two, so suspicions have arisen of a possible spread among citizens.

In Tanzania, also on the African continent, authorities have sent a team of doctors to the southeast of the country to investigate the deaths of three people from a rare disease.

“The government has formed a team of professionals who are still investigating this unknown disease,” Aifello Sichalwe, the government’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. Moreover, he urged residents to remain calm.

In total, cases were detected in 13 patients, three of whom died. The curious thing about this case is that, according to Sichalwe, the patients tested negative for Ebola, Marburg virus and covid-19. Also, one of them has been cured, while the others remain isolated.

However, the deceased in Ghana has sounded the alarm over the risk of a possible spread of the Marburg virus, but why worry?

What is the Marburg virus?

According to information from the World Health Organization (WHO), “the lethality of Marburg virus disease (MVD), which is caused by the virus that bears this name, is up to 88%but it could be much less if the patients were properly cared for.

The WHO also reports that Marburg virus disease was first identified in 1967, after simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt (Germany) and Belgrade (Serbia).

Marburg and Ebola viruses are different, however, both belong to the Filoviridae family and cause diseases with similar clinical characteristics.

Regarding the transmission of the virus to humans, the WHO explains that, initially, the infection is due to a prolonged stay in mines or caves inhabited by colonies of bats. Rousettus. “The transmission between personas ocurre por direct contacto de la skin lesionada o las mucosas con sangre, secreciones, órganos u otros líquidos corporales de personas infected, así como con surfaces y materials contaminados con dichos líquidos, como ropa personal o de cama”, detail the organization.

Regarding the relationship with the bat species mentioned, the WHO reports that in 2008, two independent cases of EVD were reported in travelers who visited a cave inhabited by bat colonies. Rousettus in Uganda.

However, early outbreaks in the 1960s were associated with laboratory work with African green monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) imported from Uganda. “Subsequently, outbreaks and sporadic cases were reported in Angola, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa (in a person who had recently traveled to Zimbabwe) and Uganda,” adds the report. health authority.

WHO has declared the end of the second Ebola outbreak in Guinea
Marburg virus and Ebola virus – although they are different – belong to the Filoviridae family and cause diseases with similar clinical characteristics. – Photo: AFP

disease symptoms

The WHO specifies that the incubation period, that is to say the interval between infection and the appearance of symptoms, varies between two and 21 days.

Faced with the first symptoms, the disease includes:

  • high fever
  • Intense headaches.
  • Faintness.
  • Frequent muscle pain.

On the third day after the onset of symptoms, severe watery diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea and vomiting may occur.

Diarrhea may persist for a week. In this phase, patients have been described as having a “phantom appearance” due to sunken eyes, lack of facial expression, and extreme lethargy.

In fact, reference that in the European epidemic recorded in 1967, the majority of patients presented with a non-pruritic rash two to seven days after the onset of symptoms.

A significant percentage of patients present with severe bleeding manifestations after five or seven days. As for the fatal cases, these generally present a form of haemorrhage -often- in several organs.

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