Lab tests were conducted after eight people in the area developed symptoms of “very severe illness”, including fever, vomiting, anemia, and kidney failure.
Five of the eight confirmed cases have died, including a health worker, and the remaining three are being treated. The agency also identified 161 contacts of those infected, who are currently being monitored.
“The efforts of the Tanzanian health authorities to establish the cause of the disease a clear indication of the intention to respond effectively to the outbreak. We are working with the government to rapidly scale up control measures to stop the spread of the virus and end the outbreak as soon as possible,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Africa.
While this is the first time Tanzania has recorded a Marburg case, the country has had first-hand experience responding to other crises including COVID-19, cholera, and dengue within the past three years. In September 2022, the UN health agency conducted a strategic risk assessment that revealed that the country is at high to very high risk for infectious disease outbreaks.
“The lessons learned, and the progress made during other recent outbreaks should stand the country in a good position how to face this new challenge,” said Dr. Moeti. “We will continue to work closely with the country’s health authorities to save lives.”
Marburg virus often causes hemorrhagic fever, with a mortality rate as high as 88 percent.
It is part of the same family as the virus that causes Ebola. Symptoms associated with Marburg virus begin suddenly, including high fever, severe headache, and severe malaise, WHO said.
The virus is usually spread to humans from fruit bats and spreads through direct contact with infected people’s body fluids, surfaces, and objects.
While there There are no approved vaccines or antiviral treatments to treat the virus, supportive care, rehabilitation, and treatment of specific symptoms increase the chances of survival.