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Five dead as Tanzania detects first-ever Marburg virus outbreak


Three of the eight confirmed cases are being treated, according to WHO, while 161 contacts are being monitored.

Tanzania has confirmed eight cases of Marburg, a deadly viral haemorrhagic fever with symptoms broadly similar to Ebola, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO said in a statement late Tuesday that the confirmation by Tanzania’s national public laboratory followed the deaths of five people in the northwestern Kagera region who developed symptoms including fever, vomiting, bleeding and kidney failure.

Among the dead was a health worker, the WHO said. The three survivors were treated, with 161 contacts checked.

“The efforts of Tanzania’s health authorities to determine the cause of the disease are a clear indication of their determination to respond effectively to the outbreak,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“We are working with the government to quickly scale up control measures to halt the spread of the virus.”

With a fatality rate of as much as 88 percent, Marburg is from the same virus family responsible for Ebola and is transmitted to humans by fruit bats. It then spreads through contact with bodily fluids of infected people.

Symptoms include high fever, severe headache and malaise, which typically develop within seven days of infection, according to the WHO.

The outbreak in Tanzania comes a month after Equatorial Guinea also confirmed the first-ever outbreak of Marburg virus disease. WHO has stepped up surveillance in the Central African country by deploying experts in epidemiology, case management, infection prevention, laboratory and risk communications to strengthen the country’s response.


Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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