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Marburg virus: Likelihood of case importation high in Nigeria – NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) says the likelihood of importation of the Marburg outbreak to Nigeria is high due to the direct flight between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.


The Director General, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said this on Friday in a statement he made available to the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Abuja.


NAN reports that like Ebola, the Marburg virus originates in bats and spreads between people via close contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, or surfaces, like contaminated bed sheets.


Meanwhile, Marburg disease is not as frequently reported as Ebola, both diseases can cause outbreaks with high death rates.


Adetifa said that this was because of the proximity of Equatorial Guinea to Nigeria.


He said that the extent of the Marburg outbreak in Equatorial Guinea has not yet been ascertained.


He said that based on available data, the overall risk of importation of the Marburg virus and the impact on the health of Nigerians has been assessed as moderate.


According to him, the likelihood of spread in the country following importation is high due to the gatherings and travel associated with upcoming national elections.

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He said that the agency is aware of the first-ever outbreak of Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) announced in Equatorial Guinea on Feb. 13, 2023.


“The death of nine people prompted laboratory testing on samples of individuals experiencing symptoms of fever, fatigue, blood-stained vomit, and diarrhoea in two communities of the country’s western Kie Ntem province.


“So far, one confirmed case, nine deaths and 16 suspected cases of MVD have been reported in Equatorial Guinea.


“MVD is a Viral Haemorrhagic Fever (VHF) caused by a virus from the same family as the Ebola virus disease. The primary route of transmission is from fruit bats to humans. Human-to-human transmission is possible through contact with the body fluids of an infected person.


“Currently, there are no available vaccines or therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of this strain of the virus.


“The early initiation of supportive treatment has been shown to significantly reduce the probability of death due to MVD,” he explained.


He said that there are currently no cases of Marburg virus disease in the country, but assured that the NCDC, relevant Ministries, Departments, Agencies, and partners have taken proactive measures to mitigate the risk of cross-border importation.

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