Cyprus monitoring deadly Marburg virus

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Public Health Services are closely monitoring information on the spread of the deadly Marburg virus, where cases of the disease have been recorded in Equatorial Guinea and other African countries.

Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first-ever outbreak of Marburg virus disease.

Preliminary tests after the deaths of at least nine people in the country’s eastern Kie Ntem Province turned out positive on one of the samples for the viral hemorrhagic fever.

The World Health Organisation is cooperating with local health authorities to locate cases and begin contact tracing.

Marburg virus is a highly virulent disease that causes hemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88%.

It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola.

Illness caused by the Marburg virus begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache and severe malaise, according to the WHO.

Many patients develop severe hemorrhagic symptoms within seven days.

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

There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus.

However, supportive care – rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids – and treatment of specific symptoms improve survival.

Travellers in Equatorial Guinea should self-isolate and seek medical attention immediately if they experience fever, chills, muscle pain, rash, sore throat, diarrhoea, weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising during or after travel (up to 21 days).

Cyprus’ medical services have updated the relevant protocols and action plan to manage cases of hemorrhagic fever.

In addition, the Health Ministry said a follow-up to inform the public would be made if necessary.