Five dead as Tanzania detects first Marburg virus outbreak | Health News

According to the WHO, 161 contacts are being traced and three of the eight confirmed cases are receiving treatment.

Tanzania has confirmed eight cases of Marburg, a highly lethal viral hemorrhagic fever with Ebola-like symptoms, in its first outbreak, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO said in a statement late on Tuesday that Tanzania’s National General Laboratory confirmed the death of five people in the northwestern Kagera region who developed symptoms including fever, vomiting, bleeding and kidney failure.

A health worker was among the dead, WHO said. All three survivors are receiving treatment and 161 contacts are being monitored.

“The efforts of Tanzanian health authorities to establish the cause of the disease is a clear sign of their commitment to respond effectively to the outbreak,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“We are working with the government to rapidly increase containment measures to prevent the spread of the virus.”

With a mortality rate as high as 88 percent, Marburg belongs to the same virus family that causes Ebola and is transmitted to people from fruit bats. It is spread through contact with bodily fluids of infected people.

Symptoms include high fever, severe headache and malaise, which usually develop within seven days of infection, according to the WHO.

Tanzania’s outbreak comes a month after Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first case of Marburg virus. WHO intensified surveillance in the central African country, deploying health emergency experts in epidemiology, case management, infection prevention, laboratory and risk communication to boost the country’s response.

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