The UN’s health agency on Thursday declared an end to a nearly four-month outbreak of Marburg virus in Equatorial Guinea, saying the disease, had caused 35 confirmed or suspected deaths.
“The outbreak of Marburg Virus Disease in Equatorial Guinea ended today with no new cases reported over the past 42 days after the last patient was discharged from treatment,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement.
The highly virulent microbe causes severe fever, often accompanied by bleeding and organ failure.
It is part of the so-called filovirus family that includes Ebola haemorrhagic fever, which has caused several deadly epidemics in western and central Africa.
The outbreak, declared on February 13, was the first of its kind in Equatorial Guinea, a small coastal state in central-western Africa.
“A total of 17 laboratory-confirmed cases and 12 deaths were recorded. All the 23 probable cases reported died,” the WHO said.
“Four patients recovered from the virus and have been enrolled in a survivors programme to receive psychosocial and other post-recovery support,” it added.
The statement paid tribute to local health workers and support by partner organizations for the “hard work” in tackling the outbreak, much of which entails tracing and isolating people in contact with patients.
The first outbreak of Marburg in Africa was recorded in South Africa in 1975.
Outbreaks or sporadic cases have been also reported in Kenya, Angola, Ghana, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, as well as Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania this year.
The suspected natural source of the virus is the African fruit bat, which carries the pathogen but does not fall sick from it.