Two cases of the deadly Marburg virus have been identified in Ghana, the first time the Ebola-like disease has been found in the West African nation, health authorities announced Sunday.
Earlier in the month, blood samples taken from two people in the southern Ashanti region suggested the Marburg virus.
The samples were sent to the Pasteur Institute in Senegal which confirmed the diagnosis, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said.
“This is the first time Ghana has confirmed Marburg Virus Disease,” said GHS head Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said in a statement.
No treatment or vaccine exists for Marburg, which is almost as deadly as Ebola. Its symptoms include high fever as well as internal and external bleeding.
A total of 98 people identified as contact cases are currently under quarantine, the GHS statement said, noting that no other cases of Marburg had yet been detected in Ghana.
The WHO said Guinea had confirmed a single case in an outbreak declared over in September 2021.
Previous outbreaks and sporadic cases of Marburg in Africa have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, according to the World Health Organization.
The Marburg virus can spread from infected animals, including bats.
“The public is therefore advised to avoid caves inhabited by bat colonies and to cook all meat products ‘thoroughly’ before consumption,” the Ghanaian health authorities advised.
In addition, anyone identified as having been in contact with sufferers, including medical staff, must self-isolate.
The viral illness hits sufferers suddenly, with high fever and severe headaches.
Fatality rates in confirmed cases have ranged from 24 percent to 88 percent in previous outbreaks, depending on the virus strain and case management, according to the WHO.