Guinea contains Marburg virus as country marks end to disease outbreak

West African nation takes great strides to ensure 42 days without new Marburg virus cases.

Guinea has taken extraordinary measures to contain its recent Marburg virus outbreak, and now it seems the country is in the clear. On 15 September 2021, the West African nation marked 42 days since their last reported case. With over 170 people evaluated as high-risk contacts from the initial case that rocked the country, Guinea was able to monitor them closely for three weeks and thus restrained the possible epidemic. WHO assisted Guinea in providing a rapid response to the outbreak by posting specialists to contain the virus. The country’s healthcare system has made efforts of its own by engaging with the public and educating them on the disease. Though the country has made positive strides in combating the virus, the WHO has cautioned the country to avoid a re-emergence of the virus.

The contagious virus is known to cause symptoms such as fever, headache and weakness, and within seven days severe haemorrhagic symptoms. Mortality rates range from 24% to 88% and with no approved vaccine or antiviral treatment available on the market, more efforts are needed to circumvent another global pandemic. Cases have been previously reported across countries such as Angola, Republic of South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Kenya. Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director of WHO Africa stated that, “Without immediate and decisive action, highly infectious diseases like Marburg can easily get out of hand. Today we can point to the growing expertise in outbreak response in Guinea and the region that has saved lives, contained and averted a spill-over of the Marburg virus.”