Ghana’s health authorities on Sunday evening confirmed the country’s first two cases of the highly infectious Marburg virus disease.
The government says two men, aged 26 and 51 checked into hospitals in late June. Both patients have since died.
Tests conducted in Ghana came back positive on July 10. A World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre laboratory in Senegal later confirmed that the illness was due to the Marburg virus.
“Health authorities have responded swiftly, getting a head start preparing for a possible outbreak. This is good because without immediate and decisive action, Marburg can easily get out of hand. WHO is on the ground supporting health authorities and now that the outbreak is declared, we are marshalling more resources for the response,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
More than 90 contact persons, including health workers and community members, have been identified and are being monitored.
Marburg is in the same family as the more well-known Ebola virus disease. It is only the second time the zoonotic disease has been detected in West Africa. Guinea confirmed a single case in an outbreak that was declared over on 16 September 2021, five weeks after the initial case was detected.