According to a press release, WHO Equatorial Guinea announced its first-ever outbreak on Monday (local time) after tests on the samples of the nine patients revealed they had the Marburg virus illness.
Central Africa is the region where Equatorial Guinea is situated. The islands of Bioko, Annobón, and Rio Muni on the continent of Africa make up this former Spanish colony. The Marburg virus illness has officially made its first-ever appearance according to the World Health Organization (WHO), an “outbreak” of the Marburg virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever and is related to the “Ebola” sickness, has killed at least nine individuals in Equatorial Guinea.
According to a press release from WHO, Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first-ever outbreak on Monday (local time) after testing for the Marburg virus illness in the samples of the nine persons was positive.
According to the announcement, advance teams have been sent to the impacted regions to track contacts, isolate, and treat anyone exhibiting illness signs.
One of the eight samples tested for the virus was found to be positive. Nine fatalities and 16 probable cases have so far been documented, with symptoms such as fever, exhaustion, and vomit and diarrhoea tinged with blood.
“Marburg is really contagious. The emergency response can immediately ramp up so that we can save lives and stop the virus as soon as possible because of the swift and decisive action taken by the Equatorial Guinean authorities in verifying the sickness, according to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.
The Marburg virus sickness, which results in hemorrhagic fever, is extremely infectious, according to the WHO. It starts off suddenly with a high temperature, a terrible headache, and terrible malaise. 88 of every 100 infected individuals are expected to pass away.
The virus is disseminated among humans by direct contact with the body fluids of infected individuals, surfaces, and objects. It is transferred to humans through fruit bats.
Investigations are currently being conducted to find out if the Marburg virus sickness is to blame for all of the deaths and suspected cases, as well as to find any more instances.
Given that the areas in question border the Cameroonian cities of Ambam, Kye-Ossi, and Olamze, all of which are located in the country’s South Region, a red alert has been issued for what was previously referred to as an “unknown sickness” while the investigations are ongoing. As a result, Cameroon’s government has limited travel near its border with Equatorial Guinea.
According to a statement released on February 10 by the Cameroon Minister of Public Health, Dr. Manaouda Malachie, “local administrative authorities have taken measures, including restricting movement at the Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea border, in view of the high risk of importation of this disease and in order to detect and respond to any cases at an early stage.”
In order to “conduct multi-sector investigations” in the risk zones for case detection and contact tracing, he claimed that his ministry was collaborating with experts from the World Health Organization, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, as well as teams from Equatorial Guinea. Along with stepping up “epistemological monitoring,” he said the team is also stepping up “awareness-raising and community mobilisation initiatives.”
In “strict compliance with infection prevention and control measures,” the minister commanded medical professionals to notify and isolate any suspicious cases. Insisting that the epidemic was a sickness that can and will be explained by science rather than mystical phenomena or witchcraft, he urged the populace to abide by the precautions advised by local health officials.
He further advised the populace to phone the toll-free hotline if they see any suspected fatalities in dangerous areas, anybody bleeding from a natural orifice, or anyone showing symptoms of weakness, a headache, or a fever.
He instructed the populace to implement fundamental hygiene practices after “handling animal or animal product” and “taking care of a person with hemorrhagic fever symptoms.”
The general public must also refrain from unprotected sexual activity as well as coming into touch with sick people’s bodily fluids, dead or ill animals, and sick people.
Equatorial Guinea has implemented precautions to stop the disease’s spread in the meantime.
More than 200 people have been isolated despite the fact that they do not exhibit any symptoms, and movement near the two villages where the epidemic was first reported has been limited.
A Crisis Committee has been established, according to Minister Ayekaba. The Committee has already put in place “the first contingency and emergency reaction plan, which includes restricting travel to and from the afflicted regions and strengthening local epidemiological surveillance systems.”
He said that advance teams had been set up in the impacted areas to track down contacts, isolate, and treat anyone exhibiting symptoms of the illness.
“Health emergency professionals in epidemiology, case management, infection prevention, laboratory, and risk communication are being deployed by the WHO to support national response operations and secure community engagement in outbreak containment,” the organisation stated.
The community president should be contacted via phone if someone exhibits symptoms like fever, weakness, vomiting blood, or diarrhoea, he added, adding that there was no need to panic.
Additionally, we want to remind you that infection prevention measures should be maximised. These include avoiding direct contact with people who exhibit the aforementioned symptoms, washing, and disinfecting hands, using a mask appropriately, cooking and disinfecting food properly, and avoiding crowds that aren’t necessary (festivities or family events included). However, non-medical workers shouldn’t handle corpses, according to Ayekaba.