Guinea confirmed a case of Marburg disease, the World Health Organization said on Monday, the first recorded in West Africa of the lethal virus that’s related to Ebola and, like Covid-19, passed from animal hosts to humans.
The virus, which is carried by bats and has a fatality rate of up to 88 percent, was found in samples taken from a patient who died on 2 August in southern Gueckedou prefecture, the WHO said.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa said that the potential for the Marburg virus to spread far and wide needed to stop it in its tracks.
The discovery comes just two months after the WHO declared an end to Guinea’s second outbreak of Ebola, which started last year and claimed 12 lives.
In Geneva, the WHO said it considered the threat “high” at the national and regional level, but “low” globally. The Guinean government confirmed the Marburg case in a statement.
Previous outbreaks and sporadic cases have been reported in South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But this is the first time the virus has been detected in West Africa.