Health and Healthcare Systems

What is Marburg disease?

World Health Organisation officials dressed in PPE examine the home of a suspected Marburg virus victim

Marburg has been circulating in animals in southern Guinea and neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia. Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Bate Felix
Energy Correspondent , Reuters
Christophe Perre
Video Journalist, Reuters
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Health and Healthcare Systems?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Pandemic Preparedness and Response is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Pandemic Preparedness and Response

  • Health authorities in Guinea are monitoring 155 people who may have had contact with a confirmed case of Marburg virus disease.
  • Marburg disease is a highly infectious haemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola, according to the WHO.
  • Marburg fatality rates in past outbreaks have varied from 24% to 88% of those infected.
  • There is no vaccine or drug specifically directed to the virus.

Health authorities in Guinea are monitoring 155 people who may have been in contact with a confirmed case of Marburg virus disease, a highly infectious haemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola, a World Health Organization official said on Tuesday.

The Marburg case, which the WHO said was the first in West Africa, was confirmed in Gueckedou in southeastern Guinea. The region was the origin of the 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak, the deadliest in history, and saw a brief resurgence of Ebola this year.

Georges Ki-Zerbo, the WHO country head in Guinea, said Marburg had been circulating in animals, particularly bats, in southern Guinea and neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Have you read?

Pathogens have tended to cross from animals to humans in the region because of their close interaction, notably in the hunting and eating of "bushmeat" from the wild.

"There is no known secondary case ... The contacts have been traced, and 155 people are under observation for three weeks," Ki-Zerbo said in an interview.

"It is active surveillance. The contacts are kept at home, isolated from other members of the family. They are visited every day to check on potential symptoms."

Marburg and Ebola are closely related and transmission between humans is usually through contact with blood or other bodily fluids.

Guinea was declared free of Ebola two months ago, following an outbreak that killed 12 people.

Marburg fatality rates in past outbreaks have varied from 24% to 88% of those infected.

But Ki-Zerbo said Guinea was better prepared to handle an outbreak than it had been when Ebola struck in 2014. The discovery of the Marburg case also indicated improved ability to detect such infections.

Discover

What is the World Economic Forum doing about epidemics?

"Guinea has built a robust health security system since the last Ebola outbreak in 2014 to 2016," he said, pointing to the use of rapid response teams, disease detectives, epidemiologists and social anthropologists, and better coordination with neighbouring countries.

"Globally, the approach to combating Marburg would not be different from Ebola," he said. "The only difference is that there is no vaccine or drug specifically directed to the virus. Only supportive care is available."

Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Bird flu spread a ‘great concern’, plus other top health stories

Shyam Bishen

April 24, 2024

2:12

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum