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The World Health Organization has reported that six additional laboratory-confirmed cases of Marburg virus disease (MVD) have been reported in Equatorial Guinea.

This brings the total to 15 laboratory-confirmed and 23 probable cases since the declaration of the outbreak on 13 February 2023.

According to WHO, among the laboratory-confirmed cases, there are 11 deaths representing a Case Fatality Ratio of 78.6%, and all probable cases are dead; for one confirmed case the outcome is unknown.

The most affected district is Bata in Litoral province, with nine laboratory-confirmed MVD cases reported.

WHO says it is supporting the Ministry of Health by strengthening different response pillars, including but not limited to surveillance, including at points of entry; laboratory; case management; infection prevention and control; risk communication and community engagement.

MVD is a disease with high mortality that causes haemorrhagic fever, and is among the diseases that require assessment under the International Health Regulations.

On 30 March 2023, WHO assessed the public health risk posed by this outbreak as very high at the national level, high at sub-regional level, moderate at the regional level and low at the global level.

WHO advises against restrictions to international travel and/or trade in Equatorial Guinea.

Description of the situation

On 13 February 2023, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Equatorial Guinea declared an outbreak of Marburg virus disease (MVD) after suspected viral hemorrhagic fever deaths were reported between 7 January and 7 February 2023, and a case tested positive on 12 February for Marburg virus by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) at the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal.

Since the last Disease Outbreak News on this event (22 March 2023) and as of 11 April 2023, six additional laboratory-confirmed cases of MVD were reported in Equatorial Guinea, bringing the total of cases in the outbreak to 15 laboratory-confirmed. Additionally, 23 probable cases have been reported since the start of the outbreak.

Eleven deaths were recorded among laboratory-confirmed cases (Case Fatality Ratio (CFR) among confirmed cases 78.6%), and all probable cases are dead; for one confirmed case the outcome is unknown.

Four laboratory-confirmed cases (26.6%) were reported among healthcare workers, of whom two died. Among the confirmed cases, three have recovered.

In July 2022, a preliminary analysis of samples taken from two patients – both deceased – in Ghana indicated the cases were positive for Marburg. However, per standard procedure, the samples were sent to the Pasteur Institute of Dakar for confirmation. On 17 July 2022 the two cases were confirmed by Ghana, which caused the country to declare a Marburg virus disease outbreak. An additional case was identified, bringing the total to three.

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