Rare, Deadly Virus Breaks Out In Africa, Killing At Least 9 People. Here’s What We Know

(Photo by Florence PANOUSSIAN / AFP) (Photo by FLORENCE PANOUSSIAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The deadly Marburg virus has surfaced in Equatorial Guinea for the first time ever, killing at least nine people, the World Health Organization announced Monday.

The presence of the deadly hemorrhagic fever was confirmed through preliminary tests carried out on the nine individuals who have already died from it, the WHO wrote in a statement shared on its website. Health authorities in the small African nation and international organizations such as the WHO are now working to figure out what caused the sudden outbreak.

A district health official sent an alert about the outbreak on Feb. 7, and at least sixteen suspected cases emerged prior to the Monday announcement.

Symptoms of Marburg virus include fever, fatigue, bloody vomit, diarrhea. The fatality rate of the virus can be as high as 88 percent, and it presents similarly to the deadly Ebola virus and typhoid fever.

Transmission occurs in humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of the infected, including fluids on surfaces and materials, the WHO noted. People typically die nine or 10 days after the onset of the virus.

“Marburg is highly infectious. Thanks to the rapid and decisive action by the Equatorial Guinean authorities in confirming the disease, emergency response can get to full steam quickly so that we save lives and halt the virus as soon as possible,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said in the statement. (RELATED: REPORT: Strange New Virus With High Fatality Rate In China Has Infected 35 People)

There are no treatments for the Marburg virus, but reports suggest the WHO will be testing an experimental vaccine in Equatorial Guinea, NBC reported. The WHO founded a group of government officials, researchers and vaccine developers in 2021 for the purpose of working toward a Marburg vaccine, the outlet noted.