Health Minister: Liberia ‘prepared’ to handle Marburg threats
By: Emmanuel wise Jipoh
Liberia is prepared to deal with any cases of Marburg, the highly infectious virus, Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah has assured.
Ghana, the latest African country to report Marburg virus, has recorded two deaths from the virus with nearly one hundred others currently in quarantine.
The first ever Marburg outbreak was in Germany in 1967 where seven people died. Apart from the latest outbreak in Ghana this week, beyond West Africa, previous outbreaks and sporadic cases have been reported in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, according to the World Health Organisation.
The virus killed more than 200 people in Angola in 2005, the deadliest outbreak on record, the WHO says.
With West African neighbor Ghana, being the latest to suffer from the disease that is similar to Ebola Virus, there are fears that the virus may spread unchecked if it were to hit Liberia.
But Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, in an exclusive interview in Monrovia, said, considering the 2014 experience in the fight against Ebola, the Country’s surveillance system is equipped to detect any eventual disease outbreak.
Dr. Jallah says Liberians shouldn’t fear or panic about the Marburg Virus situation in Ghana, as the country’s health system is well positioned to defend against any potential outbreak.
She also disclosed that about three (3) million Liberians have been vaccinated so far against the Coronavirus Pandemic, and that number of new cases is low, but urged unvaccinated members of the public to get their jabs and continue with every preventive measure against the disease.
Symptoms of the Marburg Virus
Marburg is highly infectious and has an incubation period of two to 21 days. Some symptoms include high fever, severe headache, severe malaise, muscle aches and pain, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, and vomiting.
Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva, as of yet no proven vaccine, cure or treatment exists for Marburg – but doctors say drinking plenty of water and treating specific symptoms improves a patient’s chances of survival.
The virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads between humans through the transmission of bodily fluids, health experts say. Editing by Jonathan Browne