After conducting laboratory tests in the northwest Kagera region, Tanzania has confirmed its first-ever cases of the Marburg Virus Disease.
Eight people reported symptoms, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to order tests, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
Five of the eight confirmed cases have already died, including a health worker; the remaining three are receiving treatment. More than 160 of the infected person's contacts are being kept track of.
The efforts made by Tanzanian authorities to identify the disease's cause show their commitment to containing the outbreak, according to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
“We are working with the government to rapidly scale up control measures to halt the spread of the virus and end the outbreak as soon as possible,” Moeti noted.
In September 2022, the WHO conducted a strategic risk assessment that revealed Tanzania was at high risk for infectious disease outbreaks.
Marburg virus causes hemorrhagic fever with a high fatality ratio of up to 88 percent. Other symptoms of the disease include headache, vomiting, bleeding and kidney failure
Marburg, which is part of the same family as the virus that causes Ebola, is transmitted by fruit bats and spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces, and materials.
Though there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments to treat the virus, supportive care, rehydration, and treatment of specific symptoms increase the chances of survival.
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