Equatorial Guinea confirms eight more Marburg cases: WHO

Recent cases of Marburg disease have also been reported in Cameroon and Tanzania, according to the WHO.

Equatorial Guinea map

Eight new confirmed cases of the Marburg disease have been reported in Equatorial Guinea, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

This brings the total of laboratory-confirmed cases to nine and probable cases to 20 since the outbreak of the disease – a deadly one similar to Ebola – was declared in February. Twenty deaths have been reported.

“The confirmation of these new cases is a critical signal to scale up response efforts to quickly stop the chain of transmission,” WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said in a statement on Thursday.

Of the eight new cases, two were reported from the Central African country’s Kie-Ntem province, four from the Litoral province and two from Centre-Sur province.

The areas reporting cases are about 150 kilometres (93 miles) apart, suggesting a wider transmission of the virus, the WHO said.

Among the dead are two healthcare workers.

“We need to make sure healthcare workers are aware of all the precautions as they carry out clinical care of the patients and investigation of the disease,” Moeti told Al Jazeera, highlighting the need for personal protective equipment in order to protect medical staff.

“People in communities and families have to be aware of the risk of the presence of the virus in their midst and the precautions they have to take in order to minimise being infected,” she said.

Moeti also called on communities to carry out safe burials and not involve entire communities.

“We need to convince people that this way of saying bye to loved ones is not going to be the normal way because of the risk involved.”

Marburg virus disease is a viral haemorrhagic fever that can have a death rate of up to 88 percent, according to the health agency.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue and blood-stained vomit and diarrhoea. There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat it.

Neighbouring Cameroon also detected two suspected cases of Marburg disease last month despite restricting movement along the border to avoid contagion.

On Tuesday, Tanzania confirmed eight cases of Marburg, including five deaths.

Source: News Agencies