Five dead as Tanzania detects first-ever Marburg virus outbreak

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Tanzania confirms first-ever outbreak of Marburg virus disease [Courtesy: WHO]

Three of the eight confirmed cases are receiving treatment even as 161 contacts are being monitored, according to the WHO.

Tanzania has confirmed eight cases of Marburg, a high-death viral hemorrhagic fever with symptoms broadly similar to those of Ebola, in its first-ever outbreak, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO said in a late Tuesday statement that the confirmation by Tanzania’s national public laboratory followed the death of five people in the northwest Kagera region who developed symptoms, which include fever, vomiting, bleeding and renal failure.

Among the dead was a health worker, WHO said. The three who survived were getting treatment, with 161 contacts being monitored.

“The efforts by Tanzania’s health authorities to establish the cause of the disease is a clear indication of the determination to effectively respond to the outbreak,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.

“We are working with the government to rapidly scale up control measures to halt the spread of the virus.”

With a death rate of as high as 88 percent, Marburg is from the same virus family responsible for Ebola and is transmitted to people from fruit bats. It then spreads through contact with bodily fluids of infected people.

The symptoms include high fever, severe headache and malaise which typically develop within seven days of infection, according to the WHO.

Tanzania’s outbreak comes a month after Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first-ever outbreak of Marburg virus disease too. The WHO intensified surveillance in the Central African nation, deploying health emergency experts in epidemiology, case management, infection prevention, laboratory and risk communication to boost the country’s response.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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