Ghana has identified two cases of the deadly Marburg virus, marking the first time the Ebola-like disease has been found in the west African nation, the Guardian reports. The Ghana Health Service (GHS) said the cases were confirmed by the Pasteur Institute in Senegal.
GHS head Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said: “This is the first time Ghana has confirmed Marburg virus disease.” The GHS added 98 people identified as contact cases were under quarantine.
The disease, a very infectious haemorrhagic fever in the same family as Ebola, is spread to people by fruit bats and transmitted among people through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people and surfaces, the WHO said. Ghanaian health authorities said: “The public is therefore advised to avoid caves inhabited by bat colonies and to cook all meat products thoroughly before consumption.”
Marburg is potentially very harmful and deadly; case fatality rates in past outbreaks have ranged from 24% to 88%. There is no treatment or vaccine available.
The WHO said Guinea had confirmed a single case in an outbreak declared over in September 2021, while previous outbreaks and sporadic cases of Marburg in Africa have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, according to the WHO.
Anyone identified as having been in contact with sufferers must self-isolate.