Recent Study on the Marburg Virus Disease in Equatorial Guinea

Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, 14 February 2023 – On 13 February 2023, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoH) of Equatorial Guinea reported a confirmed Marburg virus disease (MVD) outbreak in the Kie Ntem province in the North Western part of the country.  One confirmed case, nine deaths and 16 suspected cases have been reported from two communities in this province.  This is the first MVD outbreak that has ever been declared in Equatorial Guinea.  The source of this outbreak is still unclear and genome sequencing results are still pending.

A district health official detected the outbreak on 7 February 2023.  The initial confirmed case and other suspected cases presented with fever, fatigue, bloodstained vomit and diarrhoea.  Results of laboratory testing performed at the Institut Pasteur reference laboratory in Senegal revealed that out of the eight samples, one was positive for MVD.

MVD is a severe and often fatal illness in humans, and is a zoonotic hemorrhagic disease caused by the Marburg virus.  The Marburg virus is transmitted to people usually from fruit bats. Human-to-human transmission occurs through direct contact with body fluids from infected persons or contact with equipment and other materials contaminated with infectious blood or tissues, infected blood, and body fluids of infected people.  No vaccine or specific treatment for MVD is available, therefore supportive therapy should be initiated immediately for any individuals presenting with MVD.  The same infection prevention and control protocols as other viral hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola should be used to prevent transmission.

With partners’ support, the Ministry of Health and Social welfare has deployed rapid response teams to support further investigations.  In addition, active case search, contact tracing and case management are ongoing in affected communities.

The Africa CDC has deployed a team of experts in Equatorial Guinea to support response efforts in the country.  The Africa CDC has also engaged the ministry of health and social welfare of Equatorial Guinea and neighbouring countries (Gabon and Cameroon) to support the cross-border context of the outbreak, and guide regional surveillance strategies in containing the outbreak.

This article was written by Africa CDC