Marburg virus: Cameroon finds suspected cases of illness similar to Ebola



Cameroonian authorities discovered two suspected cases of Marburg’s disease on Monday in Olamze, a municipality on the border with Equatorial Guinea, the region’s public health deputy, Robert Mathurin Bidjang, said on Tuesday.

Equatorial Guinea has officially declared it first outbreak of the Marburg virus, a disease similar to Ebola, on Monday.

Neighboring Cameroon had limited movement along the border to avoid contamination following reports of an unknown, deadly hemorrhagic fever in Equatorial Guinea last week.

“On February 13, we had two suspicious cases. These are two 16-year-old children, a boy and a girl, who have no previous travel history to the affected areas of Equatorial Guinea,” Bidjang said at a rally in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital.

Forty-two people who came into contact with the two children have been identified and contact tracing is ongoing, he added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said earlier on Tuesday that it was stepping up its epidemiological surveillance in Equatorial Guinea.

The small Central African country has reported nine deaths so far, as well as 16 suspected cases of Marburg virus disease, with symptoms including fever, fatigue and blood-stained vomit and diarrhea, the WHO said.

“Surveillance in the field has been intensified,” said George Ameh, WHO country representative in Equatorial Guinea.

“Contact tracing, as you know, is a cornerstone of the response. We redeployed… the COVID-19 contact tracing teams that were there and quickly adapted to really help us.”

Equatorial Guinea last week quarantined more than 200 people and restricted movement in Kie-Ntem province, where the hemorrhagic fever was first detected.

The Marburg virus is a highly contagious disease that can have a mortality rate of up to 88%, according to the WHO. There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat it.

“We are working on a 30-day response plan where we should be able to quantify what the exact measures are and quantify what the exact needs are,” said Ameh.

He added that the country’s authorities have not reported any new suspected cases in the past 48 hours.

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