At Least 5 Dead As Hemorrhagic Marburg Virus Spreads To Tanzania

(Photo credit should read FLORENCE PANOUSSIAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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An outbreak of the rare, deadly Marburg virus has spread from Equatorial Guinea to Tanzania, killing at least five people in the African nation, according to Wednesday reports.

Cases of the horrific hemorrhagic fever were confirmed in Equatorial Guinea in February, where nine people died. Reports released by the BBC on Wednesday claim that five people have now died of the highly-infectious, Ebola-like virus in the north-west region of Tanzania.

Tanzania’s Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said the outbreak had been contained and is confident it will not spread any further, but three individuals are still being treated in hospital. Authorities are also still trying to track at least 161 people who may have contracted the virus through contact with those already sickened.

“The efforts by Tanzania’s health authorities to establish the cause of the disease is a clear indication of the determination to effectively respond to the outbreak,” World Health Organization Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said of the situation, the BBC noted.

Moeti made almost the exact same statement when Equatorial Guinea first confirmed its outbreak. WHO has deployed experts in the virus to strengthen the response to the outbreak, according to a press release. (RELATED: REPORT: Strange New Virus With High Fatality Rate In China Has Infected 35 People)

Marburg virus is in the same family as Ebola and has a case-fatality ratio of roughly 88%, WHO noted. People typically die within 9-10 days after symptoms start, with transmission occurring through direct contact with infected bodily fluids. People can incubate the virus for almost three weeks before showing symptoms.