The World Health Organization (WHO) today announced the end of Equatorial Guinea's first Marburg virus disease outbreak, after two incubation periods passed with no new cases since the last patient was discharged from treatment.
The development follows last week's announcement of the end of a Marburg virus outbreak in Tanzania, another African country that battled the virus for the first time.
The two countries and Ghana are among the African nations that have reported over the past 2 years their first outbreaks of Marburg viral hemorrhagic fever, a disease similar to Ebola that is thought to jump to humans from fruit bats that carry the virus. Like Ebola, the virus spreads among humans through contact with contaminated body fluids, surfaces, and materials.
Equatorial Guinea's outbreak began in February, and Tanzania's began in March. Of the two, Equatorial Guinea's was more worrisome due to its size, scope, and possibility of undetected transmission chains.
Outbreak involved 50 cases, 45 deaths
In its statement, the WHO said 17 lab-confirmed cases, 12 of them fatal, were reported from five of eight provinces, with 11 near Bata, the country's largest city and home to a port and an international airport. Also, 23 probable cases were reported, all fatal.
Matshidiso Moeti, MBBS, who directs the WHO's African regional office, said, "The hard work by Equatorial Guinea's health workers and support by partner organizations has been crucial in ending this outbreak. WHO continues to work with countries to improve measures to detect and respond effectively to disease outbreaks."
The WHO said four survivors have been enrolled in a program to provide psychosocial and postrecovery support.
I honor those health workers who paid the ultimate price for simply doing their jobs.
At a media briefing today, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, thanked Equatorial Guinea's government, the affected communities, and health workers. At least five infections were reported among healthcare workers. "I honor those health workers who paid the ultimate price for simply doing their jobs," he said.