Two people die after testing positive for Ebola-like Marburg virus in Ghana


TWO people have died after testing positive for an Ebola-like virus, health chiefs have announced.

The Marburg virus causes those who catch it, to bleed to death.

Earlier this month it was reported that there had been two casualties in Ghana, in patients with symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting.

Ghanaian health bosses confirmed on Sunday that the deaths were down to the virus.

In a statement the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said: “Further testing at the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal has corroborated the results.”

All contacts of the patients that sadly died have been identified and all are isolating to stop the spread of the virus.

Matshidiso Moeti the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional director for Africa said authorities in the area had responded swiftly to the possible outbreak.

“This is good because without immediate and decisive action, Marburg can easily get out of hand,” he added.

No treatment or vaccine exists for Marburg, a very infectious haemorrhagic fever in the same family as Ebola.

It is somewhat less deadly than Ebola, with symptoms including high fever and internal and external bleeding.

The illness starts abruptly, within two to 21 days of infection, causing a high fever, severe headache and muscle aches and pains.

Severe watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain and cramping, nausea and vomiting can begin on the third day, and diarrhoea can persist for a week, the WHO said.

Many develop severe internal bleeding within a week, with blood from the nose, gums, vagina and in vomit and faeces, and die not long after. 

Case fatality rates in past outbreaks have ranged from 24 to 88 per cent.

Marburg is spread to people by fruit bats, with humans usually getting infected after prolonged exposure to mines or caves inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies.

Once a person is infected, they can transmit it to others through skin-to-skin contact, bodily fluids or infected surfaces.

There have been a dozen major Marburg outbreaks since it was discovered in Marburg, Germany, in 1967.

Cases have mostly been in southern and eastern Africa, including Angola, Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, WHO said.

Only one other time was a case found in West Africa, after Guinea confirmed a single case detected in August. 

The outbreak in Guinea was declared over five weeks later.

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