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Equatorial Guinea. Marburg virus, nine deaths confirmed

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Nine deaths from Marburg virus have been confirmed in Equatorial Guinea. 21 suspected cases are being investigated. A committee of the World Health Organization is considering the use of experimental vaccines.

Equatorial Guinea, located in Central Africa, reported on February 13 the occurrence of cases and deaths related to Marburg virus infection. So far, as stated World Health ORganisation (WHO) nine people have died, 16 have been confirmed infected, and 21 people are being monitored – all of them live in Kie Ntem province, which borders Cameroon.

Movement restrictions have been introduced in the border area.

One of the deadliest viruses

Marburg virus, which, like Ebola, belongs to the filovirus family and is on the WHO list of the most dangerous pathogens for humans. In previous outbreaks – there have been 16 so far – in the worst cases, the death rate was as high as 88%. sick.

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READ MORE: The deadliest viruses of our time. They reap a tragic harvest every year

The virus owes its name to the place where it was discovered. In August 1967, in Marburg and Frankfurt, West Germany, patients with symptoms suggestive of an infectious disease began to come to the hospital: high fever, muscle and headaches, sometimes diarrhea or rash, which were joined by severe bleeding symptoms after a few days. A total of 31 people were infected then (two of them in Belgrade), of whom seven died – the mortality rate was almost 25 percent.

The investigation showed that the patients were employed in the medical industry related to animal experiments and had direct contact with the blood, tissues and internal organs of green monkeys sent in one transport from Uganda.

Equatorial Guinea. Nine deaths have been confirmed in the Marburg virus outbreakReuters

Although epidemics caused by marburg have a very high mortality rate, they are usually not geographically widespread. The highest number of cases was recorded at the turn of the century in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, when 154 people fell ill, of whom 128 died according to WHO data, and Angolawhere in 2005 252 of the 272 infected people died.

READ MORE: The “ghost-like” sick. What do we know about the Marburg virus and its outbreaks?

Epidemiologist: need for quick action

On Wednesday, an emergency meeting of WHO experts discussed whether long-term vaccines should be made available for use in Guinea, and if so, which ones, the WHO director-general said. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“I cannot stress enough how urgent action is needed,” said British epidemiologist John Edmunds of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

USA have five experimental vaccines against the virus, none of which have been approved. The current epidemic creates a chance to start research on the most promising of them.

Main photo source: Reuters

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