Zim on alert for Marbug virus

THE Government has taken steps to strengthen surveillance, particularly at the ports of entry, and has activated response teams following cases of Marburg virus reported in the region. The response plan was announced by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Air Commodore Dr Jasper Chimedza in statement.

He alerted the public of a current MArburg outbreak affecting Equatorial Guinea and most recently Tanzania, the virus has a case fatality ration of 62.5 percent and a case fatality of 24 -90 percent.

Dr Chimedza said the Marburg virus is clinically similar to Ebola virus as they are caused by the same family of viruses and also cause severe haemorrhagic fever in humans.

“In view of this regional outbreak, the MoHCC has taken steps to strengthen surveillance particularly at the points of entry and activated preparedness and response teams,” said Air Commodore Dr Chimedza in statement.

“If anyone presents with haemorrhagic symptoms and high fever having travel history to or through countries reporting Marburg virus, they should immediately report to the nearest health facility or call the Ministry’s Public Health Emergency Operations Centre toll free number 2019 for assistance. 

“The virus is transmitted to humans through fruit bats which are the natural hosts. 

“Spread among humans is through human- to-human transmission via direct contact with blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected persons and with surfaces and materials contaminated with these fluids.

“Incubation period varies from 2-21 days.”

He said illness begins abruptly with high fever, severe headache, severe malaise, severe watery diarrhoea, abdominal pains and cramps, nausea and vomiting can begin from day three..

Other symptoms include severe haemorrhagic manifestations are seen five-seven days from onset of symptoms with fatal cases presenting with some form of bleeding, often from multiple sites.

“It is difficult to clinically distinguish Marburg from other infectious disease such as malaria, typhoid fever, shigellosis, meningitis and other viral haemorrhagic fevers.”

Previous Village health workers: Frontline of Zim’s well-being

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