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Govt On High Alert Over Marburg Disease

The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) has warned members of the public to be cautious of the Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) after its outbreak in Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania.

The virus, which is similar to Ebola, causes severe haemorrhagic fever in humans and is highly fatal, in response, the Zimbabwean government has announced that they are taking steps to strengthen surveillance at ports of entry to prevent the spread of the disease in the country.

In a statement, MoHCC Permanent Secretary, Dr Jasper Chimedza, said response teams have been activated, and anyone presenting with symptoms should report immediately to the nearest health facility or call the Ministry’s public health emergency operations centre toll-free number.

“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. If anyone presents with haemorrhagic symptoms and high fever having a travel history to or through countries reporting MVD, they should immediately report to the nearest health facility or call the ministry’s public, number 2019 for health emergency operations centre toll-free assistance,” said Dr Chimedza

Equatorial Guinea declared an outbreak of MVD on February 13, 2023, with 20 probable cases and nine confirmed cases by March 22, 2023, according to Dr Chimedza.

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 Meanwhile, Tanzania declared its first outbreak of the disease on March 21, 2023, with a total of eight cases and five confirmed deaths.

The virus is transmitted to humans through fruit bats, and human-to-human transmission occurs via direct contact with bodily fluids, secretions, or organs of infected individuals or contaminated surfaces.

The symptoms include high fever, severe headache, severe malaise, severe watery diarrhoea, abdominal pains, cramps, nausea, and vomiting, which can begin from day three.

Severe haemorrhagic manifestations are seen 5-7 days from onset symptoms, with fatal cases often presenting with bleeding from multiple sites.

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