Panafrican News Agency

GuInea confirms outbreak of Marburg virus to WHO

Geneva, Switzerland (PANA) - The World Health Orgaization (WHO) said here Monday Guinea's ministry of Health had reported a confirmed case of the Marburg virus disease (MVD) in the country.

A statement by the WHO sent to PANA said the outbreak was detected in the Guéckédou Prefecture, Nzérékoré Region, south-western Guinea, near both the Sierra Leone and Liberian borders.

This is the first known case of Marburg virus disease in Guinea and in West Africa, the statement said.

"The case, a male, had onset of symptoms on 25 July. On 1 August, he attended a small health facility near his village of residence with symptoms of fever, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, and gingival hemorrhage.

"A rapid diagnostic test for malaria was performed which was negative. The patient received supportive care with rehydration, parenteral antibiotics and treatment to manage symptoms.

"On 2 August 2021, he died in the community and an alert was raised by the sub-prefecture public health care facility to the prefectorial department of health in Guéckédou," the statement said.

It said that following the alert, an investigation team composed of national authorities and WHO experts was deployed to conduct an in-depth investigation.

"The team collected a post-mortem oral swab sample, which was sent the same day to the viral haemorrhagic fever reference laboratory in Guéckédou.

"On 3 August a real-time PCR was conducted which confirmed the sample was positive for Marburg virus disease and negative for Ebola virus disease.

"On 5 August the National Reference Laboratory in Conakry provided confirmation by real-time PCR of the positive Marburg result and on 9 August, Institut Pasteur Dakar in Senegal provided reconfirmation that the result was positive for Marburg virus disease and negative for Ebola virus disease," the statement averred.

The Ministry of Health (MoH), together with WHO, US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, ALIMA, Red Cross, UNICEF, The International Organization for Migration and other partners, have initiated measures to control the outbreak and prevent further spread.

"Contact tracing is ongoing, along with active case searching in health facilities and at the community level. Three family members and a healthcare worker were identified as high-risk close contacts and their health is being monitored," the ministry said.

The most recent Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Guinea was declared over on 19 June, 2021, and a network of community health workers was set up as part of this recent outbreak along with a WHO technical team which has remained in the country to support the government’s implementation of a post-EVD plan to enhance disease surveillance.

This team has now been repurposed to support the government’s response activities to this outbreak of Marburg, the statement added.

The Guinean MoH has also activated the national and district emergency management committees to coordinate the response.
-0- PANA RA 9Aug2021