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Equatorial Guinea: 10 deaths from Marburg virus

Equatorial Guinea: 10 deaths from Marburg virus
WHO's Dr Mark Katz takes an oral sample from a suspected Marburg fever patient in ...   -  
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Equatorial Guinea

A new provisional death toll from the Marburg virus outbreak that has been raging for more than two months in Equatorial Guinea has reached 10 confirmed deaths, the health ministry said Monday.

"It said it had no cases reported in the last 48 hours, 14 positive cases and 10 hospitalized, including two confirmed and eight suspected, the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

A new death has been reported, bringing to 10 the provisional death toll since the beginning of the epidemic of this virus cousin of Ebola and almost as deadly as it.

A total of "604 people" in contact are being monitored, compared to 825 on 30 March, the ministry said.

Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) called on Equatorial Guinea to report cases of the Marburg virus because of fears of more widespread contamination than previously thought.

The UN agency was alarmed at a potential "large-scale epidemic", which could affect neighbouring Gabon and Cameroon. Cases have been reported outside the province of Kié-Ntem, where it caused the first known deaths on 7 January, reaching Bata, the country's economic capital.

WHO announced the deployment of "additional experts" and said it was "also helping Gabon and Cameroon to strengthen preparedness and response to the epidemic".

Tanzania also announced a fortnight ago the start of a Marburg epidemic, with five deaths.

The virus is transmitted to humans by fruit bats and is spread in humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, or with surfaces and materials. The case fatality rate is up to 88%.

There is no approved vaccine or antiviral treatment for the virus. However, supportive care - oral or intravenous rehydration - and treatment of specific symptoms increase the chances of survival.

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