Marburg virus – Guinea

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Temèssadou Bokeh in Guéckédou Prefecture of Guinea, West Africa, confirmed the death of a male due to Marburg virus infection.

The case, a male, had onset of symptoms on 25 July. On 1 August he attended a small health facility near his village of residence with symptoms of fever, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, and gingival hemorrhage. A rapid diagnostic test for malaria was performed which was negative. The patient received supportive care, but did on August 2.

An investigation team comprosed of national authorities and WHO experts was deployed to conduct an in-depth investigation. The team collected a post-mortem oral swab sample, which was sent the same day to the viral haemorrhagic fever reference laboratory in Guéckédou.On 3 August a real-time PCR was conducted which confirmed the sample was positive for Marburg virus disease and negative for Ebola virus disease.

Contact tracing is ongoing, along with active case searching in health facilities and at the community level.

Photo: Transmission electron micrograph of Marburg virus

Marburg virus is a hemorrhagic fever virus, discovered in 1967 during a set of outbreaks in the German cities of Marburg and Frankfurt and the Yugoslav capital Belgrade, when laboratory workers were exposed to tissues of infected grivet monkeys. During the outbreaks, thirty-one people became infected and seven of them died.

In 2009, the successful isolation of infectious virus was reported from caught healthy Egyptian fruit bats, suggesting that Old World fruit bats are involved in the natural maintenance of Marburg viruses.

Since 1967, outbreaks have been reported in Kenya, Angola, Uganda and Guinea, affecting from 1 up to 252 people with mortality rates ranging from 50% to 100%.

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