The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday that there have been eight additional confirmed instances of Marburg disease in Equatorial Guinea.
Since the outbreak of the deadly illness similar to Ebola was announced in February, there have been nine laboratory-confirmed cases and 20 probable cases. There have reportedly been 20 fatalities.
The WHO said in a statement that of the eight new cases, two were recorded from the Kie-Ntem province of the Central African nation, four from the Litoral province, and two from the Centre-Sur province. Around 150 kilometers (93 miles) separate the areas reporting cases, indicating a wider spread of the virus, according to the WHO.
“The confirmation of these new cases is a critical signal to scale up response efforts to quickly stop the chain of transmission,” WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said in the statement.
The WHO describes Marburg virus illness as a viral hemorrhagic fever with a fatality rate that can reach 88%. Fever, exhaustion, nausea and diarrhea stained with blood are symptoms. There are no authorized vaccines or antiviral medications to treat it.
Last month, neighboring Cameroon also discovered two possible cases of Marburg illness, despite limiting border crossing to prevent spread.
Tanzania’s first-ever Marburg case
The WHO reported that Tanzania has confirmed its first-ever case of Marburg. In its statement on Tuesday, the organization noted that five of the eight individuals who experienced the symptoms—fever, vomiting, bleeding, and renal failure—died after developing them in Tanzania’s northwest Kagera region.
A health professional was among the fatalities, according to the WHO. The 161 contacts of the three survivors were being watched while they received therapy.