West African nation of Ghana has confirmed first cases of the deadly Marburg virus from two people in the southern Ashanti region.
Here are key facts about Marburg and the infection it causes:
- According to World Health Organization (WHO), Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent.
- The Marburg virus can spread from infected animals, including bats. The viral illness hits sufferers suddenly, and its symptoms include high fever, internal and external bleeding and severe headaches.
- Human infection with Marburg virus disease initially results from prolonged exposure to mines or caves inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies, as per the WHO.
- Once an individual is infected with the virus, Marburg can spread through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.
- No treatment or vaccine exists for Marburg, which is almost as deadly as Ebola.