HealthThe WHO warns about the Marburg virus: symptoms, how it is spread and the treatment applied

The WHO warns about the Marburg virus: symptoms, how it is spread and the treatment applied

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed the first outbreak of an infectious disease caused by the Marburg virus.

The outbreak has emerged in Equatorial Guinea and has already left 9 deaths. In addition, there are another 16 suspected cases, all in the eastern part of the country, very close to the border with Cameroon. Up to 4,300 people are currently in quarantine.

“Marburg virus disease is highly virulent and causes hemorrhagic fever, with a mortality rate of up to 88%“, the WHO specifies in the statement.

It must be clarified that this 88% lethality has been calculated taking into account the current outbreak. The average mortality rate would actually be around 50%.

This infection is similar to Ebola. In fact, it originates from the same pathogen that causes the disease. This has awakened all the alerts from the WHO, which is already working on a response to control the advance of the virus.

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Below are shown what are the symptoms of the Marburg virus and the treatment being used.

These are the symptoms of the Marburg virus

The most common symptoms of the Marburg virus are hemorrhagic fever, fatigue, bloody vomit and diarrhea. The incubation period is between 2 and 21 days. This picture is very similar to that caused by Ebola.

The WHO explains that the disease usually appears abruptly, with high fever, intense headache and general malaise. Muscle cramps and pain in the abdomen also appear in the early stages of the infection.

From the third day the patients worsen, experiencing extreme lethargy that joins the rest of the symptoms. From the fifth day of illness, rashes on the back or chest are common, although they are not itchy or annoying.

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The most serious cases end with the death of the patient, usually on the eighth or ninth day after the onset of symptoms. Death is preceded by profuse blood loss and shock.

How is the Marburg virus spread?

The virus spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people.. Contagion is also possible by coming into contact with surfaces that have been contaminated by the pathogen.

It is not a respiratory virus like the coronavirus or the flu. Special attention must be paid to hand hygiene and direct contact with infected people.

Another relevant aspect of this virus is that it continues to be contagious after the death of the affected person, which is why health workers must also take precautions at this time.

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Treatment for Marburg virus

There is no specific treatment for Marburg virus. There is also no vaccine to help prevent infection.

To try to save patients, rehydration and treatment of specific symptoms are used. Diagnosing the disease as soon as possible is key to the survival of those infected.

“Thanks to the swift and decisive action of the Equatorial Guinean authorities in confirming the disease, the emergency response can be rapidly accelerated so that we can save lives and stop the virus as soon as possible,” the WHO states in its statement.

WHO has sent emergency health experts and epidemiologists to Guinea to try to contain the outbreak. Health teams working on contact tracing and isolating possible infected people have also attended.


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