by Ben Taylor

Marburg virus outbreak over
The Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu, announced in June that Tanzania was officially free from the Marburg Virus Disease (MVD), after completing 42 days of monitoring per the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

In a post on Twitter, the minister reported that May 31, 2023 marked the end of the monitoring period since the last patient recovered. “I’m officially announcing that the Marburg Virus Disease in the Kagera region is officially over,” she said. “We have managed to end the disease with great success. Today is a happy day; it’s a day to celebrate.”

On March 21, 2023, Tanzania had officially declared the country’s first Marburg virus outbreak. It was the second country to report the disease after Equatorial Guinea, which continues to battle with the disease. Across March and April nine cases were reported in Tanzania, including eight laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case. The last confirmed case was reported on April 11, and the sample collection of the second negative PCR test was on April 19. All cases were reported from Bukoba district, Kagera region. Among the confirmed cases, three have recovered, and six deaths have been reported, of which five were confirmed cases, and one was probable. Cases ranged from 1 to 59 years old. Six cases were close relatives, and two were healthcare workers who provided medical care to the patients.

WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, described the development as “good news” in a statement posted on Twitter. “My appreciation goes to health [and] care workers, the government of Tanzania, WHO colleagues, and all partners for their efforts to end the outbreak in just over two months,” he said. “The key lesson is that we need to continue investing in epidemic preparedness,” he added.

WHO confirmed an outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus disease in the central African country of Equatorial Guinea on February 13, 2023. In the past, the disease was reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

According to WHO, the Marburg virus spreads between people via direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes with infected people’s blood, secretions, organs, or other body fluids and surfaces and materials such as bedding and clothing contaminated with these fluids.

There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines against Marburg virus disease. Outbreak control relies on contact tracing, sample testing, patient contact monitoring, quarantines and attempts to limit or modify high-risk activities such as traditional funeral practices. (The Chanzo)

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