Tanzania has confirmed its first-ever cases of Marburg, a high-fatality viral hemorrhagic fever with symptoms broadly similar to those of Ebola.
The WHO in a statement said the confirmation follows the death of five of eight people in northwest Kagera region who developed symptoms, which include fever, vomiting, bleeding and renal failure.
Among the dead was a health worker. The three who survived are said to be receiving treatment, with 161 contacts being monitored.
The WHO regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti, acknowledged the efforts by Tanzania’s health authorities to establish the cause of the disease as a clear indication of the determination to effectively respond to the outbreak.
With a fatality rate of as high as 88 percent, Marburg is from the same virus family responsible for Ebola and is transmitted to people from fruit bats. It then spreads through contact with bodily fluids of infected people.
Symptoms include high fever, severe headache and malaise which typically develop within seven days of infection.
According to the WHO, Equatorial Guinea is also battling its first-ever outbreak of Marburg that was confirmed in February.