Health Experts Urge Ghanaians Not To Panic Over Monkeypox And Marburg Outbreaks

Health Experts Urge Ghanaians Not To Panic Over Monkeypox And Marburg Outbreaks

  • Two health experts have allayed fears that the recent Marburg and Monkeypox outbreaks will escalate
  • Virologist Dr Augustina Sylverken and GHS official Rexford King James have said there is no cause for alarm
  • The two diseases have broken out in parts of the country in recent times with one person each dying from both Marburg and Monkeypox

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Despite the twin outbreaks of Monkeypox and Marburg virus in Ghana, health experts say there is no cause for alarm.

Monkeypox cases have been confirmed in Ghana since last month but the death of a person who tested positive for the disease has sparked fears.

Also, hundreds have been quarantined after a new case Marburg virus was recorded in Ashanti Region.

Health experts advice Ghanaians about Marburg and Monkeypox viruses
Photo of health expert Photo credit: ARUN SANKAR via
Source: Getty Images

Speaking to in an exclusive interview Virologist at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR), Dr Augustina Sylverken said Ghanaian authorities have done an incredible job so far.

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"The Ghana Health Service is on top of issues. Look at the fact that suspicion for those cases was high; samples were quickly taken and tested.
"Beyond that, aggressive contact tracing has been done and is still ongoing. Alerts about the Marburg virus have been sent to hospitals. Press releases have been issued.
They have done well. Now the public also need to take all the things GHS has been saying seriously," she said.

Also, Health Promotion Officer at the Upper East Region, where one person died from Monkeypox said every step has been taken to quell escalation.

Rexford King James told Joy News on Tuesday, August 2, 2022 that when people panic mistakes could happen.

“So our message to the general public together with our health workers is that we need to calm nerves down because this is not the first time we are confronted with such, a situation ” he admonished.

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The WHO has published the following key facts about the Marburg virus disease:

  • Marburg virus disease (MVD), formerly known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • The virus causes severe viral haemorrhagic fever in humans.
  • The average MVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88% in past outbreaks depending on virus strain and case management.
  • Early supportive care with rehydration, and symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus, but a range of blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are currently under development.
  • Rousettus aegyptiacus, fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family, are considered to be natural hosts of Marburg virus. The Marburg virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through human-to-human transmission.
  • Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks.

Monkeypox facts

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Monkeypox has been associated with sporadic outbreaks over the past decades.

The most recent outbreak is associated with the less virulent West African clade of the virus, and manifests most commonly as macular pustular lesions at areas exposed to the virus. In the current outbreak primarily in men who have sex with men and their intimate contacts, the disease often manifests as painful lesions in the genital region that can take two to three weeks to completely heal.

These lesions may have very high titers of infectious virus present, and until the lesions completely heal over these individuals can potentially spread the virus further.

As previously reported, Monkeypox was first detected in humans in 1970 in Africa and since then most cases have been reported in rural and rainforest areas.

For decades, only a few cases were reported sporadically. Then in 2017, there was a sudden spike, with more than 2,800 suspected cases reported in five countries. This surge continued, peaking in 2020 with more than 6,300 suspected cases, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo accounting for 95% of the total.

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The numbers then dropped in 2021 to around 3,200 suspected cases. The reasons for these spikes are not fully known but may be due to deforestation and the encroachment of people into the habitats of Monkeypox animal hosts.

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