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WHO Raises Alarm As Marburg Virus, Deadlier Than Ebola Emerges, May Spread Fast

Photo by: Gavi.org

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning about the reported case of a new virus, known as Marburg virus, in Guinea, said to be deadlier than Ebola and threatening to spread “far and wide.”

WHO made it clear that swift action is necessary to prevent it from exploding like Ebola, which is part of the same family of viruses.

The WHO’s regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, in a statement today, August 10 said:  “the potential for the Marburg virus to spread far and wide means we need to stop it in its tracks.

“We are working with the health authorities to implement a swift response that builds on Guinea’s past experience and expertise in managing Ebola, which is transmitted in a similar way.”

Health officials in Guinea said that they have identified four high-risk contacts with the infected patient even as Dr. Krutika Kuppalli told BBC News that another 146 people who are at risk have also been found.

Experts said that like Ebola virus, Marburg is a highly infectious and potentially fatal disease that initially spreads to humans through fruit bats and that once infected, humans can spread the virus to other people through bodily fluids and via contaminated surfaces.

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They gave the symptoms of the virus to include headache, fever, muscle pains, bleeding and vomiting blood.

WHO said that the disease is severe, untreatable and ultimately kills approximately half of the people it infects.

Doctors also said that the best way to deal with it is to treat the symptoms and give patients lots of water.

The disease is said to however be very rare and hard to recognize, as the symptoms resemble malaria, typhoid and other hemorrhagic fevers.

The virus was first identified in 1967, when simultaneous outbreaks occurred in Belgrade, Serbia and the German cities of Frankfurt and Marburg. Those outbreaks were linked to lab monkeys that had been imported from Uganda.

Since then, health officials have recorded handfuls of cases and a few outbreaks in Uganda, Kenya, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo over the years.

The worst outbreak occurred in 2005, when 374 people were infected in Angola. Of those 374 infected, 329 people died

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