Child infected with Marburg virus dies in Ghana

This transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the Marburg virus, the cause of Marburg hemorrhagic fever. Image courtesy CDC /Dr. Fredrick Murphy, Sylvia Whitfield, 1976. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

A child who contracted the highly infectious Marburg virus in Ghana has died, a World Health Organization official said on Tuesday.

The child’s death is the third from the Marburg virus since Ghana reported the first two cases of the virus in the country in July. Ghana is the second country in West Africa to report the disease after Guinea.

This transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the Marburg virus, the cause of Marburg hemorrhagic fever. Image courtesy CDC /Dr. Fredrick Murphy, Sylvia Whitfield, 1976. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

“Last week I mentioned the two additional cases. One is the wife of the index case and the other one is the child of the index case and the child unfortunately died, but the wife is still alive and improving,” WHO doctor Ibrahima Soce Fall told reporters.

The Ghanaian health ministry has only reported three confirmed cases and further testing remains to be done on a fourth suspected case, Soce Fall said.

The first two cases, in southern Ghana’s Ashanti region, both had symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting, before dying in hospital,

The virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with bodily fluids, surfaces and materials, the WHO said.

No vaccine is currently available.