Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania Declare End to Marburg Virus Outbreaks
Equatorial Guinea Successfully Controls Marburg Virus Epidemic
In a significant development, the United Nations’ health agency has declared an end to the nearly four-month epidemic of the Marburg virus in Equatorial Guinea. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday that the outbreak has been successfully contained, with no new cases reported for the past 42 days after the discharge of the last patient. The Central African nation, which confirmed the outbreak on February 13, witnessed 35 confirmed or suspected deaths due to the disease.
Equatorial Guinea’s health workers, with the support of partner organizations, played a crucial role in ending the outbreak. Four patients have recovered from the virus and are now enrolled in a survivors program to receive comprehensive post-recovery support, including psychosocial assistance. This accomplishment highlights the growing expertise in health emergency response in Africa, enabling countries to act swiftly and effectively to safeguard public health.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, emphasized the importance of the region’s capability to detect and respond to disease outbreaks. While outbreak-prone diseases continue to pose a significant threat to Africa, Equatorial Guinea’s successful control measures demonstrate the effectiveness of collaboration and swift action. WHO will continue working with countries to enhance their ability to detect and respond to outbreaks effectively.
The Marburg virus affected eight provinces in Equatorial Guinea, with the worst-hit district being Bata in the Litoral province. Among the reported cases, there were 17 laboratory-confirmed cases and 12 deaths. Tragically, all 23 probable cases resulted in fatalities. The outbreak brought immense challenges to the country’s healthcare system, but through coordinated efforts, the situation has been brought under control.
Tanzania Overcomes Marburg Virus Outbreak, Takes Swift Action
In another positive development, Tanzania has also declared an end to the deadly Marburg virus outbreak. The country reported a total of nine cases, of which eight were confirmed and one was probable. While six individuals lost their lives to the virus, three cases successfully recovered. Tanzania’s proactive response and efficient containment measures contributed to the swift resolution of the outbreak.
Marburg Virus: A Highly Virulent Disease Similar to Ebola
The Marburg virus, a highly virulent disease similar to Ebola, belongs to the same family of viruses. It was first identified in 1967 when outbreaks occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, as well as in Belgrade, Serbia. Tragically, seven people died after being exposed to the virus during research on monkeys. Subsequently, the disease was associated with African green monkeys from Uganda, although the natural carrier of the Marburg virus is the African fruit bat.
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