Ghana’s health authorities say they have, for the first time, confirmed two fatal cases of the Marburg virus, a relative of the Ebola virus.
In a statement on Thursday, the Ghana Health Service said the two cases of Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) were detected in the Ashanti region – about 250 kilometers from the capital, Accra.
“Blood samples were sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research,” the statement said, adding, “Preliminary results suggest the infection is due to the Marburg virus.”
Applying standard procedure, the samples have been sent to the Institut Pasteur in Senegal, a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating center, for confirmation, the statement added.
The two patients from the southern Ashanti region – both deceased and unrelated – showed symptoms that included diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting, the WHO said on its website.
So far, 34 persons have since been quarantined and are being monitored for coming in contact with the two infected persons.
The health directorate in the region, according to the statement, is “currently conducting further investigations on the cases and contacts.”
It would be the second time Marburg is being detected in West Africa, if Ghana’s case is confirmed by the WHO. Guinea confirmed a single case in September 2021.
Marburg virus is transmitted by infected persons or animals from direct contact with body fluids, blood and other discharges from the affected person or animal. The incubation period for the disease is two to 21 days.
The WHO said Marburg is a disease with a case fatality rate of up to 88%.
Prospective patients may suffer from fever, bloody diarrhea, bleeding from gums, bleeding of the skin, bleeding of the eyes and bloody urine.