Spain detects first suspected case of Ebola-like Marburg virus: Report
A 34-year-old man has been isolated in Spain as health authorities suspect that he contracted Ebola-like Marburg virus during his stay in Equatorial Guinea, a small African nation. While tests are carried out in Madrid, the patient has been transferred from a private hospital to an isolation unit at the Hospital La Fe in the Valencia region of Spain, news agency Reuters reported. Equatorial Guinea has so far registered nine deaths and 16 suspected cases of the disease after an outbreak earlier this month forced isolation of 200 people. Two suspected cases were detected in Cameroon also.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Marburg virus disease is "a highly virulent disease that causes hemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent". There are no vaccines or approved antiviral treatments linked to the deadly virus yet.
Experts on Marburg virus
Marburg virus, the WHO has said, is in the same family of the virus that causes Ebola virus disease. The disease was initially detected in 1967 when two large outbreaks were reported simultaneously in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany, and in Belgrade, Serbia. "The outbreak was associated with laboratory work using African green monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) imported from Uganda," the world health body underlines. Since then, infections have been reported from Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda.
The reservoir host of Marburg virus is the African fruit bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus, as per the US drug regulator Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The cave-dwelling bat is found widely across Africa. "Fruit bats infected with Marburg virus do not show obvious signs of illness. Primates (including people) can become infected with Marburg virus, and may develop serious disease with high mortality," the CDC has explained on its official website.