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CDC Warns of Marburg Virus After Deadly Africa Outbreak

CDC warns against Marburg virus outbreak in Africa.
CDC warns against Marburg virus outbreak in Africa. Credit: Mstyslav Chernov / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising people who are planning to visit Guinea and Tanzania to be careful about catching the Marburg virus, which is extremely dangerous and can cause serious illness or even death.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has noted that it has the ability to lead to major outbreaks.

Steps Being Taken By CDC

To help combat the spread of this disease, the CDC is sending its National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases to Africa. This team will work to contain the outbreaks in Guinea and Tanzania.

According to CDC, “we are living in an interconnected world where an outbreak of infectious disease is just a plane ride away.”

For those who plan to travel to Guinea or Tanzania, the CDC recommends being cautious and avoiding contact with sick individuals. Healthcare facilities in outbreak areas should also be avoided. It is important to watch for symptoms of the Marburg virus for up to three weeks after leaving the area.

First Reported Outbreak in Guinea

Equatorial Guinea reported the first outbreak of a deadly virus in February. Since then, there have been nine confirmed cases and 20 probable cases, all of which resulted in death.

Tanzania, located 1,800 miles away, also reported an outbreak of the same virus. In Tanzania, there have been a total of nine confirmed cases, with five resulting in fatalities.

Symptoms of Marburg Virus

The Marburg virus is rare and dangerous. Symptoms of the virus include fever, chills, muscle pain, rash, sore throat, diarrhea, weakness, and unexplained bleeding or bruising.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Marburg virus can spread through the blood or body fluids of an infected person or someone who has passed away due to the virus.

It is also possible to get the virus by coming into contact with infected objects, such as needles, bedding, clothing, and medical equipment. It may also spread via contact with animals, especially bats, which are particularly susceptible to it.

Outbreaks of Marburg Virus in 2018 and Steps Taken

In the year 2018, outbreaks of the Marburg virus occurred in a national park in Uganda. Health professionals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) traveled to the area to investigate reports of illness among tourists and surrounding residents. 

They attached GPS trackers to the backs of bats so that scientists could monitor  the bats that carried the virus during the night. They wanted to find out where the bats went, in hopes of gaining a deeper understanding of the process through which the virus is passed on to people.

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