Cameroon is at high risk of a Marburg virus outbreak after the E. Guinea government reported cases of the disease in the border region of Kie-Ntem, which also borders Gabon. For now, no cases of the disease have been encountered in Cameroon but the country is already setting up a response plan.
In a February 13 statement, the World Health Organization indicated that the Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease that causes hemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88%. “Marburg is highly infectious. Thanks to the rapid and decisive action by the Equatorial Guinean authorities in confirming the disease, emergency response can get to full steam quickly so that we save lives and halt the virus as soon as possible,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
As soon as the first cases were identified in E. Guinea, the government sent samples for analysis to the Institut Pasteur lab in Senegal. The results were "negative for Ebola, Lassa, Dengue and yellow fever, but positive for the Marburg virus," according to a statement from the Equatorial Guinean Ministry of Health. A health emergency committee was swiftly put in place with the assistance of the WHO.
“There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus. However, supportive care – rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids – and treatment of specific symptoms, improves survival,” WHO recalled.
To date, 9 deaths have been reported in Kie-Ntem and 16 suspected cases have presented symptoms such as fever, fatigue, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.
Michel Ange Nga