Ghana reports 2 suspected cases of Marburg virus

The World Health Organization says Ghana has reported two possible cases of the Ebola-like Marburg virus disease, which if confirmed would mark the first-ever such infections in the West African country.

Ghana’s health authorities say they have, for the first time, confirmed two cases of the Marburg virus, a relative of the Ebola virus.

In a statement on Thursday, the Ghana Health Service said the two cases of Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) were detected in the southern Ashanti region – about 250 kilometers from the capital, Accra.

“Blood samples were sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research,” the statement said, adding, “Preliminary results suggest the infection is due to the Marburg virus.”

WHO says a preliminary analysis of samples taken from two patients from Ghana’s southern Ashanti region — both of whom died — turned up positive, but they were forwarded for full confirmation to the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal, which works with the U.N. health agency.

The two patients had been taken to a local hospital with symptoms including diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting, WHO said in a statement.

“Preparations for a possible outbreak response are being set up swiftly as further investigations are underway,” WHO said, adding that it is deploying experts to support health authorities in Ghana.

WHO said that if confirmed as Marburg, the cases would mark only the second time that the disease has been detected in West Africa — after Guinea confirmed a single case detected in August. The outbreak in Guinea was declared over five weeks later.

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