GHANA has announced the country’s first case of Marburg virus disease.
The announcement followed a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre laboratory confirmation of results of two patients.
While one case was a 26-year-old male, who checked into a hospital on 26 June and died on 27 June, the second was a 51-year-old male, who reported to the hospital on 28 June and died on the same day but the patients sought treatment at the same hospital.
The Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal received samples from each of the two patients from the southern Ashanti region of Ghana (both deceased and unrelated), who showed symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting.
The laboratory corroborated the results from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, which suggested their illness was due to the Marburg virus.
According to WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO has been supporting a joint national investigative team in the Ashanti Region as well as Ghana’s health authorities by deploying experts, making available personal protective equipment, bolstering disease surveillance, testing, tracing contacts and working with communities to alert and educate them about the risks and dangers of the disease.
It will be recalled that Marburg is a highly infectious viral haemorrhagic fever in the same family as the more well-known Ebola virus disease with experts saying it is only the second time the zoonotic disease has been detected in West Africa.