The Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are collaborating to control any Marburg virus disease (MVD) outbreaks in the country.
Following the discovery of two possible cases of the disease in the country on July 7, 2022, this has become necessary.
If the disease is confirmed, it will be the first time it has been identified in the country.
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, said the two people were found with acute hemorrhagic fever in different parts of the Ashanti Region.
“Blood samples from them were sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.” “Preliminary results indicate that the infection is caused by MVD,” he said.
However, he stated that the blood samples of the two deceased were sent to a WHO facility, the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, for additional confirmation.
He stated that the two patients from the southern Ashanti Region exhibited symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
Dr. Kuma-Aboagye stated that the country’s surveillance mechanism was already on red alert as a result of the COVID-19 response and that it was capable of selecting other suspected cases for the necessary actions.
“In addition, 34 contacts of the two cases have been identified, are quarantined, and are being monitored,” he added.
Dr Francis Kasolo, WHO Country Representative, stated that health officials were on the ground investigating the situation and preparing for an outbreak response.
“We are collaborating closely with the country to increase detection, track contacts, and be prepared to control the virus’s spread.”
“The health authorities are investigating the situation and preparing for an outbreak response.” “We are collaborating closely with the country to increase detection, track contacts, and be prepared to control the virus’s spread,” he said.
“The WHO is deploying experts to assist Ghana’s health authorities in strengthening disease surveillance, testing, tracing contacts, preparing to treat patients, and working with communities to alert and educate them about the risks and dangers of the disease, as well as collaborating with emergency response teams,” he said.
According to Dr. Kasolo, the country announced the preliminary discovery of two cases of Marburg virus disease, and the samples were sent to the Institute Pasteur in Senegal, a WHO Collaborating Centre, for confirmation.
He stated that if confirmed, the cases would be the first in the country and the second time Marburg had been detected in West Africa.
He stated that Guinea confirmed a single case in an outbreak that was declared over five weeks later, on September 16, 2021.
Previous Marburg outbreaks and sporadic cases have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda.
According to the World Health Organization, Marburg was a highly infectious viral haemorrhagic fever in the same family as the more well-known Ebola virus disease.
Marburg is transmitted to humans by fruit bats and spreads through direct contact with infected people’s bodily fluids, surfaces, and materials.
The illness strikes suddenly, with a high fever, severe headache, and malaise. Within seven days, many patients develop severe hemorrhagic symptoms.
In previous outbreaks, case fatality rates ranged from 24% to 88%, depending on virus strain and case management.