Ebola-like Marburg virus will 'spread internationally', scientists warn – as up to 32 dead | The Sun

ONE of the world's most deadly viruses could soon spread internationally, health officials have warned.

The Marburg virus, which is similar to Ebola, causes those who catch it to bleed to death.

It comes as Equatorial Guinea, in west Africa, confirmed eight additional cases of the highly virulent bug after announcing it's first ever outbreak in February.

The World Health Organisation said the new cases were spread across three different provinces over a range of nearly 100 miles “suggesting wider transmission of the virus".

The cases were found in provinces bordering neighbouring countries, meaning that “the risk of international spread cannot be ruled out”, a statement said.

The announcement comes just days after the east African country, Tanzania, announced it's own outbreak of the virus for the first time, in which eight people developed symptoms and five of them died.

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Last month, Equatorial Guinea reported that nine people had died after testing for the bug.

This brings the total to nine laboratory-confirmed cases and 20 probable cases since the declaration of the outbreak in February 2023. 

Of the confirmed cases, seven have died, while all probable cases are dead, the WHO said in a statement.

This suggests up to 32 people in Africa have died of Marburg since February 2023.

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A team of experts are sequencing samples from both countries, which are 2,000 miles apart, to see if the outbreaks are linked, said Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, acting director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last July, two people in Ghana, western Africa, died from the virus and 98 contacts were quarantined.

The nasty bug is transmitted to people from fruit bats, and it can spread between humans through direct contact with bodily fluids, surfaces and materials, the WHO said.

No treatment or vaccine exists for Marburg.

In 2014-16 the largest outbreak of Ebola since 1970 began in Guinea.

Cases were recorded in Nigeria, the US, UK, Spain and Italy.

There were 28,616 suspected, probable and confirmed cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and 11,310 deaths.

There have been a dozen major Marburg outbreaks since it was discovered in Marburg, Germany, in 1967.

Cases have mostly been in southern and eastern Africa, including Angola, Congo, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, WHO said.

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