A deadly relative of the Ebola virus was discovered in Africa. WHO announced about an outbreak of the Marburg virus – it appeared in Ghana for the first time in the history of this country.

The disease was discovered in two unrelated patients from the southern region of Ghana. They had symptoms of diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Both men, aged 26 and 51, died shortly after going to the hospital.

The patients were admitted to the hospital at the end of June. WHO tracked down people who came into contact with the patients, including health workers and community residents. They are all under surveillance.

“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,” says WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Marburg virus is highly infectious and causes hemorrhagic fever. It was previously classified in the same genus as the Ebola virus. The virus was first discovered in 1967 in Germany in the city of Marburg, which is why the pathogen got its name. The disease is zoonotic, that is, transmitted to humans from animals. According to the WHO, the Marburg virus originates from fruit bats.

Earlier, Marburg virus was registered in other African countries: Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. Then the mortality rate ranged from 24% to 88%, depending on the strain of the virus and the quality of treatment.