Marburg virus outbreak: CDC issues alert as 2 African countries, Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania, battle deadly disease
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday warned doctors to be aware of two growing outbreaks of Marburg virus disease in Africa, and will begin reaching out to select travelers arriving in the United States to monitor for symptoms of Ebola-like viral hemorrhagic fever.
This new CDC alert comes as cases have spiked following Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania’s declaration of Marburg outbreaks earlier this year. The outbreak is the first declared for each country, and ranks as among the greatest on the continent in a decade.
“Currently, the risk of MVD (Marburg virus disease) in the United States is low; however, clinicians should be aware of the potential for imported cases. It is important to routinely assess patients for the possibility of hemorrhagic fevers viral,” the CDC said. alert urge.
What is Marburg virus and what are its symptoms?
Marburg is a virus that can infect humans who come into contact with its animal host, a type of bat native to Africa. It can then be passed from an infected person to others through contact with blood or bodily fluids.
Similar to its close relative Ebola, Marburg begins with symptoms like fever and headaches before progressing to increasingly serious problems like diarrhea, “massive bleeding” and organ failure. About half of patients with identified cases die in outbreaks, on average, according to the World Health Organization estimates.
Symptoms can begin as early as two days after exposure to as late as three weeks after.
So far, local authorities have counted 14 confirmed cases in Equatorial Guinea since the declaration of the epidemic on February 13, with 10 deaths. Twenty-three other probable cases have been identified, the WHO announced on Thursday.
The CDC says eight cases have been confirmed in Tanzania, with five deaths.
Most experts believe the two outbreaks resulted from separate so-called “spillover events” from animals to humans, according to the CDC.
Authorities have warned that cases in Equatorial Guinea have been detected across a large swath of the country with no known links between patients, suggesting the virus is spreading undetected among people in the region.
“While we do not yet know the origin of the Marburg outbreaks in Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania, we do know that there continues to be increased capacity in Africa to recognize and test specimens of viral hemorrhagic fevers like Marburg and Ebola,” the World Health Organization said. Dr. Tieble Traoré said on April 4 in a post.
Travel and other precautions
There are no direct flights from either country to the United States. However, the CDC says it began texting arriving travelers who had been in Equatorial Guinea or Tanzania, urging them to contact authorities if they develop Marburg symptoms within 21 days of their trip. .
“Currently, no enhanced measures on domestic travel are recommended, as the overall risk in the United States is currently considered low,” the CDC alert reads.
The agency says it also works with non-governmental organizations in areas where advice echoing their Ebola recommendations to avoid infections and screen workers after they return. The CDC previously updated its guidelines for Ebola to also include Marburg, in addition to stepping up its travel alert during hatching.
In Tanzania, the White House said the United States provided personal protective equipment as well as “technical support in the management of epidemics”.
In Equatorial Guinea, CDC responders began to deploy following the declaration of the outbreak in February. The American lab was lifted March 10and is currently training local authorities in the diagnosis of suspected cases in Marburg.
Work on possible vaccines
There are no approved vaccines or treatments for Marburg, although the makers of several potential vaccine candidates – including a US government-backed option from Sabin Vaccine Institute – have prepared some experimental shots that could be deployed.
750 doses of this vaccine, based on a chimpanzee adenovirus, are ready to be deployed in trials for the current outbreak. WHO officials have previously said the injections could be given in a “ring” approach around the contacts of each at-risk case in hopes of helping stem transmission.
The WHO said on Thursday there was no agreed date for the start of the country’s vaccination tests, but that Equatorial Guinea had authorized visas for its experts to arrive before the shootings potentially turn into a weapons.
“When the conditions can be favorable, the trials can be started. So, at the moment, we are building the foundations for good management of alerts and case management and other bases for the response to the epidemic. And at a future date can be considered, but as of now we don’t have a specific date for the start,” said Dr Abdi Mahamud from WHO. told reporters.
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