Death Reported From Ebola-Like Marburg Virus in West Africa

Aug. 13, 2021 — A virus known as “Ebola’s deadly cousin” has been spotted for the first time in West Africa.

The Marburg virus, which causes a severe disease that is in the same virus family that causes Ebola, has been identified in southwest Guinea near the borders of Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the World Health Organization.

There has been one known death and 155 people are in mandatory quarantine, The Washington Postreported.

The Marburg virus was found in the same region of Guinea that had a massive Ebola outbreak between 2014 and 2016 that resulted in over 11,300 deaths.

The region also faced a deadly Ebola outbreak this year that ended in June, according to the WHO statement.

It can be hard to tell the difference between Marburg and other tropical diseases, like malaria, because symptoms are similar, according to the statement.

Symptoms can start with a fever and headaches and can quickly turn into vomiting, diarrhea, and uncontrolled bleeding, according to the CDC. Go here to learn more about the marburg virus.

Humans can be infected with the virus through contact with fruit bats, according to the CDC. Once the infection starts, it can spread between people through body fluids, blood, and body tissue.

Death rates range between 24% and 88%, depending on things like the type of care an infected person receives, the WHO says.

The organization says a man began having symptoms in late July and sought treatment. He tested negative for malaria.

He died Aug. 2, and the WHO and authorities investigated. Test results from an oral swab came back positive for Marburg and negative for Ebola. Test results were confirmed multiple times.

The Ministry of Health, CDC, WHO, and others are working to prevent further spread of the virus through efforts like contact tracing and watching for cases in health care facilities and communities.

Other disease outbreaks have caused problems in Guinea due to the country’s shaky health care system.

But the WHO said experience in handling other mass outbreaks, including COVID-19, helped in the quick response to control the spread of the Marburg virus.

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