Ghana has identified two cases of the deadly Marburg virus. According to health authorities, this is the first time the Ebola-like virus has been identified in the West African nation.
This comes after blood samples were taken from two people in the southern Ashanti region who suggested having the Marburg virus. The Ghana Health Service (GHS) sent the samples to the Pasteur Institute in Senegal which confirmed the diagnosis.
In a statement, GHS head Patrick Kuma-Aboagye says, “This is the first time Ghana has confirmed Marburg Virus Disease.” It adds that 98 people have been identified as contact cases and are currently under quarantine.
In September 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says Guinea had confirmed a single case. WHO adds that cases of the Marburg virus have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda.
No treatment or vaccine exists for Marburg, which is almost as deadly as Ebola. Its symptoms include high fever as well as internal and external bleeding. The Marburg virus can spread from infected animals, including bats.
While Tanzania has identified a mysterious illness that claimed the lives of three people as leptospirosis or “rat fever”, a bacterial infection commonly spread by rodents.
Last week authorities dispatched a team of doctors and experts to the southeastern region of Lindi where 20 cases have been reported, including the three people who died.
“A good thing is that this disease is preventable and curable,” says Tanzania’s Health minister Ummy Mwalimu who visited the area.
Most of the patients have recovered from the illness, whose symptoms include fever, headaches, fatigue and nosebleeds while two patients remain in isolation.