The Ghana Health Service has confirmed the first cases of the Marburg Virus Disease, a highly infectious disease in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola.
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 September 16, 2021, five weeks after the initial case was detected.
Previous outbreaks and sporadic cases of Marburg in Africa have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. The WHO has reached placed neighbouring high-risk countries on alert.
The GHS confirmation comes after a World Health Organisation (WHO) collaborating centre laboratory in Senegal confirmed earlier results after two people who later died tested positive for the virus earlier this month.
The Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal received samples from each of the two patients from the southern Ashanti region of Ghana – both deceased and unrelated – who showed symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting.
The laboratory corroborated the results from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, which suggested their illness was due to the Marburg virus. One case was a 26-year-old male who checked into a hospital on 26 June 2022 and died on 27 June. The second case was a 51 -year-old male who reported to the hospital on 28 June and died on the same day. Both cases sought treatment at the same hospital within days of each other.