A probable case of Marburg virus, a deadly hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola, has been detected in Guinea, the health ministry said on Friday.
Two laboratories in Guinea confirmed the case of Marburg and a sample has been sent to neighboring Senegal for further confirmation, the Ministry’s National Agency of Health Safety (ANSS) said in a statement.
If confirmed, it would represent the first case of Marburg in West Africa. There have been 12 major Marburg outbreaks since 1967, most in the south and east of Africa as well as in Europe.
Scientists in the West African nation of Sierra Leone found live bats infected with Marburg in 2018, but no cases were confirmed in humans. The African fruit bat is the reservoir host of the virus.
The probable case was detected in southeastern Guinea’s Nzerekore health district, near the borders with Liberia and Ivory Coast, and health officials are trying to identify contacts of the infected individual, ANSS said.
It did not provide details about the person’s current health status.
Nzerekore experienced an Ebola outbreak earlier this year in which 23 cases, including 12 deaths, were registered. It was also where West Africa’s 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak, the largest ever, began before sweeping through Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Symptoms of Marburg, which kills about 50% of people it infects, include headache, vomiting blood, muscle pains, and bleeding through various orifices. Transmission occurs through contact with infected body fluids and tissue.