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Ghana declares end of Marburg virus outbreak

Ghana declares end of Marburg virus outbreak
September 16
19:53 2022

Ghana has declared an end to its Marburg virus outbreak after two months.

Marburg virus is as a highly infectious hemorrhagic fever in the same family as Ebola. It is spread to people by fruit bats and transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people and surfaces.

Illness begins abruptly and many patients develop severe haemorrhagic signs within seven days. There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus.

Ghana had declared the outbreak on July 7, and a total of three confirmed cases — including two deaths — were recorded.

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The Marburg outbreak in Ghana was the second in West Africa — the first being in Guinea.

According to a statement by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ghana’s ministry of health declared the outbreak’s end on Friday after no new cases were reported over the past 42 days, or two incubation periods — the time between infection and the onset of symptoms.

“A total of 198 contacts were identified, monitored and completed their recommended initial 21-day observation period which was then extended for another 21 days out of an abundance of caution by the Ghanaian health authorities,” the statement reads.

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“Genomic sequence analyses of the Marburg virus by Senegal’s Institut Pasteur and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Ghana suggest that this latest outbreak is related to the case reported in Guinea in 2021.

“However, further investigations are needed to fully understand the origin of the outbreak, which may be due to a shared animal reservoir or to population movements between the two countries.

“WHO is supporting the health authorities to carry out ecological studies to increase understanding of the disease and help anticipate and prevent future outbreaks.

“Resurgence of Marburg can occur and WHO is working with Ghana’s health authorities to maintain surveillance and improve detection and response to potential flare-up of the virus.”

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Commenting on the development, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said Ghana’s response was rapid and robust despite having no previous experience with the disease.

“Lives have been saved and people’s health protected thanks to an effective disease detection system that helped to quickly identify the virus and enabled prompt response to curb the spread of infection,” she added.

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