Marburg virus disease is very serious and causes hemorrhagic fever, with a mortality rate of up to 88%.
Tanzania has confirmed its first case of Marburg virus after laboratory tests followed reports of cases and deaths in the country’s northwest Kagera region, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
Tanzania’s National Public Health Laboratory analyzed samples to determine the cause of the illness after eight people developed symptoms including fever, vomiting, bleeding and kidney failure. Five of the eight cases, including a health worker, have died and three other patients are undergoing treatment. A total of 161 contacts were identified and are being monitored.
“Efforts by Tanzania’s health authorities to establish the cause of the disease are a clear sign of (the country’s) commitment to respond effectively to the epidemic. We are working with the government to quickly expand control measures to prevent the spread of the virus and to end the outbreak as soon as possible,” said the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. Dr Matshidiso Moiti said.
WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health to send an emergency team to Kagera region to carry out further epidemiological studies. The emergency team will focus its active research on the local community and health facilities, and identify more contacts that will provide appropriate care.
Although Tanzania has never recorded Marburg disease before, the country has had to respond to other health emergencies in the past three years, including Covid-19, cholera and dengue. A strategic risk assessment conducted by the WHO in September 2022 showed that the country had moved from low risk to very high risk of outbreaks.
“Lessons learned and progress made during recent outbreaks should better position the country to face this new challenge,” Dr. Moity added, adding, “We will continue to work closely with health authorities to save lives. . »
Marburg virus disease is very serious and causes hemorrhagic fever, with a mortality rate of up to 88%. This virus belongs to the same family as the Ebola virus.
Marburg virus disease begins suddenly with high fever, severe headache and malaise. Many patients develop severe bleeding symptoms within seven days. The virus is transmitted to humans by bats and by direct contact with bodily fluids, contaminated surfaces and objects of infected individuals.
There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus. Nevertheless, supportive care—resuscitation with oral or intravenous fluids—and treatment of specific symptoms improves the chances of survival.