Marburg Virus: NCDC Alerts Nigerians Over Impending Outbreak

Following the first-ever outbreak of Marburg Virus Disease in Equatorial Guinea, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has said Nigeria is at moderate risk of importing the virus into the country.

According to the NCDC, the extent of the outbreak in Equatorial Guinea has not yet been ascertained, and the likelihood of spread in Nigeria following importation is high due to the gatherings and travel associated with upcoming national elections.

It also said the likelihood of importation to Nigeria is high due to the direct flight between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, and the proximity of Equatorial Guinea to Nigeria.

Equatorial Guinea on February 13, 2023, confirmed its first-ever outbreak of Marburg virus disease. The viral infection has also killed nine persons in the country.

According to the World Health Organisation, preliminary tests carried out following the deaths of at least nine people in the country’s western Kie Ntem Province turned out positive for viral haemorrhagic fever.

Equatorial Guinean health authorities sent samples to the Institut Pasteur reference laboratory in Senegal with support from WHO to determine the cause of the disease after an alert by a district health official on February 7.

Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent. It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola virus disease. Illness caused by the Marburg virus begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache, and severe malaise.

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