Following the investigation of five undiagnosed deaths from a hemorrhagic illness, Tanzania's health minister today said tests have confirmed Marburg virus, a close relative of Ebola, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Ummy Mwalimu, Tanzania's health minister, said 3 patients are hospitalized, and 161 contacts are under monitoring.
An earlier media report said the initial illnesses were reported from two villages in Bukoba Rural District in the northwestern part of the country.
Like Ebola, Marburg virus spreads through contact with body fluids of infected people. It has a case-fatality rate as high as 88%, and so far there are no approved vaccines or specific treatments.
Equatorial Guinea virus similar to Sierra Leone bat virus
In January, Equatorial Guinea announced its first Marburg virus outbreak, which has so far resulted in 11 deaths and one confirmed case. There has been little new information about outbreak developments since then. The World Health Organization (WHO) regional office for Africa said in its latest weekly health emergencies update that no new cases have been reported and that genetic sequencing suggests the virus is most similar to one found in fruit bats in Sierra Leone.