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WHO: Equatorial Guinea Confirms Marburg Virus Outbreak; Nine Deaths Reported

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Equatorial Guinea, a small Central African country, has announced its first outbreak of the Marburg virus, a very infectious and deadly disease like Ebola, after the death of nine people, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

The country has quarantined over 200 people and last week banned movements in its Kie-Ntem province after identifying an unknown hemorrhagic fever. Cameroon, its neighbouring country, also banned movements on its border to avoid contagion. Equatorial Guinea confirmed 16 suspected cases of Marburg virus, apart from the nine deaths, exhibiting symptoms such as fever, fatigue and blood-stained vomit and diarrhea, WHO said.

According to WHO, the Marburg virus disease could have a fatality rate of up to 88%. No vaccinations or antiviral treatments have received approval for its treatment.

On Friday, Equatorial Guinea Health Minister Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba said that deaths are related to a funeral ceremony in the Kie-Ntem province’s Nsok Nsomo district.

The WHO said, on February 7, the local authorities reported an unknown illness causing hemorrhagic fever cases, and after sending samples to a laboratory in Senegal, one resulted positive for Marburg virus disease. It also said teams are running contract tracing, isolating and treating certain cases.

In a statement, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said, “Thanks to the rapid and decisive action by the Equatorial Guinean authorities in confirming the disease, emergency response can get to full steam quickly.”

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