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First Case of an Ebola-like Virus in West Africa

A patient with the rare, but highly infectious Marburg virus disease has died in Guinea, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) statement on Monday. Samples of the virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever, were taken from the patient in Gueckedou. The statement added that the detection comes less than two months after Guinea declared an end to its most recent Ebola outbreak. Health authorities on Monday were attempting to find people who may have had contact with the patient as well as launching a public education campaign to help curb the spread of infection. In initial team of 10 WHO experts are on the ground to probe the case and support Guinea’s emergency response. According to WHO, the virus is transmitted to humans from fruit bats and can then be spread human-to-human through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people or surfaces and materials contaminated with these fluids. There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments to treat Marburg; however, there are treatments for specific symptoms that can improve patients’ chances for survival. Marburg virus was first identified in 1967, when 31 people became sick in Germany and Yugoslavia in an outbreak that was eventually traced back to laboratory monkeys imported from Uganda.