Marburg virus outbreak in two African international locations

Early this yr, Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania reported outbreaks of Marburg virus illness (MVD), the first-ever outbreak of the illness in these international locations. Because the international locations reply to the outbreaks by way of contact tracing and limiting motion throughout affected areas, the World Well being Group (WHO) estimated the danger of unfold of the illness as “very high” throughout each international locations.

The Marburg virus was first recognized in 1967 throughout outbreaks in Germany and Serbia and is thought to trigger extreme and deadly viral haemorrhagic fevers in people.

The virus is carefully associated to a different lethal virus, Ebola and is rated as a high-risk pathogen by the WHO. Marburg virus is transmitted to people by way of contact with contaminated animals resembling fruit bats, and additional human-to-human transmission can happen by way of direct contact with the bodily fluids of an contaminated affected person or contaminated surfaces leading to outbreaks. 

Since its preliminary detection in 1967, a number of outbreaks of Marburg virus have been detected between 1975 and 2023, with African international locations being essentially the most affected and infrequently with excessive fatality charges as much as 90%, relying on the early entry to high quality care.

Lately, and for the primary time, remoted circumstances have been reported in Guinea and Ghana in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

New outbreaks 

An outbreak of unknown haemorrhagic fever linked to a funeral ceremony was reported from Equatorial Guinea on February 7, 2023, which was later confirmed as Marburg virus on February 13 by the WHO. A month later, Tanzania reported an outbreak of MVD on March 21, after the detection of eight suspected circumstances, 5 of which had been deadly. The genome sequence of a Marburg virus from Equatorial Guinea was rapidly made out there in public area by researchers. The sequence reveals excessive similarity with Marburg virus genomes beforehand present in fruit bats, suggesting a possible zoonotic origin.

Is there a concern?

There aren’t any permitted vaccines, antivirals or monoclonal antibodies for Marburg virus but and supportive care to handle signs and stop issues kinds the mainstay. Nevertheless, the WHO goals to speed up trials of some investigational vaccines. Case detection by way of contact tracing, molecular analysis and quarantine is central to managing the unfold of the illness.

Whereas the 2 outbreaks have triggered a speedy res- ponse to regulate the unfold, the outbreak in Equatorial Guinea has unfold to a number of provinces and has even crept right into a populous metropolis, Bata. Equatorial Guinea has, up to now, reported a complete of 35 con- firmed circumstances and 27 deaths. The big geographic unfold of the an infection within the nation and the unidentified epidemi- ological hyperlinks between most of the reported circumstances counsel a wider vary of transmission of the virus.

The big geographic unfold of the an infection within the nation and the unidentified epidemiological hyperlinks between most of the reported circumstances counsel a wider vary of transmission of the virus. 


Because the affected international locations proceed to make efforts to include the illness and one other nation, Burundi, investigates a suspected outbreak of viral haemorrhagic fever, surveillance of rising viral illnesses is essential to assist early detection, monitoring the circulation and evolution, and develop efficient diagnostics, prevention and management measures.

It’s only pure that the idea of One Well being is more and more taking centre-stage.

(The authors are researchers on the CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi. All opinions expressed are private)

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