Health workers among confirmed cases in Tanzania Marburg outbreak

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On Tuesday,  March 21, Ummy Mwalimu, Tanzania’s Minister of health, confirmed the Marburg outbreak in the country.

As of today, five of the eight confirmed cases have died, including a health worker, and the remaining three are being treated. So far, 161 contacts have been identified and currently being monitored.

While this is the first time Tanzania has recorded the Marburg outbreak, the country has first-hand experience in responding to crises including COVID19, 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 a very high risk for infectious diseases outbreaks.

Marburg virus commonly causes hemorrhagic fever, with a high fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent.

Marburg, is part of the same family as the virus that causes Ebola. Symptoms associated with the Marburg virus start suddenly, with high fever, severe headache, and intense malaise, said WHO.

The virus is commonly transmitted to humans from fruit bats and spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces, and materials.

While there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus, supportive care, rehydration, and treatment of specific symptoms increase chances of survival.

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