New cases of Marburg virus disease in Ghana: close contact died

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) said a close contact in the new cases of Marburg virus disease in Ghana reported symptoms after the peak incubation period, the person tested positive with their close contact (still to be corroborated by IPD) but died in July. 21, 2022.

Currently, 40 additional contacts have been identified in the savanna region and are being followed up.

Eleven of the 40 contacts are health care workers (HCWs) and this daily monitoring of temperature and general health and well-being is undertaken by health personnel in the affected district.

GHS Chief Executive Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye made this known during a press briefing in Accra on Sunday July 24, 2022.

Marburg virus disease in Ghana

The June 26, 2022 GHS identified a suspected case of viral hemorrhagic fever with an onset date of June 22, 2022. It resulted in two deaths.

The Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research (NMIMR) confirmed Marburg virus disease on July 7, 2022.

The results were then corroborated by the Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) on July 15, 2022.

The first two fatal cases of Marburg virus disease (MVD) have been reported in the Ashanti region.

The first case involved a 26-year-old man who was a farm laborer in the Adansi North District of the Ashanti Region and had traveled to the Western Region.

Before the onset of symptoms on June 24, he arrived from the Western region to the Ashanti region.

He was treated in a hospital on June 26 and died on June 27.

The case was transported to and buried in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba district in the Savanes region, which borders both Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

The burial took place before the results of lab tests for the MVD were available.

The second case was a 51-year-old man who was a farm laborer in Bekwai Township of Ashanti Region.

He sought treatment at the same hospital as the first case on June 28 but died the same day.

Both cases presented with fever, general malaise, bleeding from the nose and mouth, and subconjunctival bleeding (bleeding from blood vessels in the eyes).

New cases of Marburg virus disease in Ghana: close contact died

An outbreak of MVD has only been reported once before in West Africa, and this is the first time that MVD has been reported in Ghana. An outbreak of MVD can pose a serious threat to public health because it is severe and often fatal, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The second NMIMR case has yet to be corroborated by the IPD, Dr Kuma-Aboagye said at Sunday’s press conference.

He added that a follow-up to the case, clinical notes suggested the case did not meet the definition of VHF and was a chronic case of peptic ulcer.

Further investigation is underway and all contacts of the “case-patient” have completed the mandatory 21-day quarantine and are all well.

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said the implementation of several interventions focusing on three regions; Ashanti, Savannah and Western is ongoing and a cumulative list of 118 contacts in three districts of the three regions has been identified – Ashanti – 50; Savanna – 48 and West – 20,

Nineteen of the contacts were health workers; 99 were close family members or family/community contacts and all contacts completed the mandatory 21-day follow-up by July 21, 2022.

It was from there that a close contact reported symptoms after the peak incubation period, tested positive with their close contact (yet to be corroborated by IPD), and died on July 21, 2022.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye said currently 40 additional contacts have been identified in the Savannah area and are being followed up, 11 of the 40 contacts are health workers.

Public health measures

The GHS chief executive said other measures being implemented include: alerts sent to all districts, community engagements – intensive risk communication in the affected region and further investigations into the ongoing outbreak.

  • Establishment of a rapid response team (GHS and partners) to support regional and district response teams for detailed investigations
  • Review of clinical records and education of clinical staff
  • Contact tracing and follow-up assistance
  • Provision of more PPE and other logistics by GHS/MOH and partners
  • Development of training tools and educational materials
  • Community surveillance training for volunteers and supervisors
  • Total of 60 CBSVs, 12 CHOs (as supervisors) and 8 other staff (as coordinators) trained
  • Further training in progress
  • Development of a national response plan

Next steps

  • To strengthen community engagement
  • To monitor all contacts for 42 days
  • Offer psychological support to families
  • Train CBSVs in case finding and contact tracing
  • Improve risk communication activities
  • Wildlife environmental assessment in affected districts (Adansi North, Bekwai, Prestea Huni Valley, STK)
  • Collaborate with wildlife and partners to conduct a national risk assessment
  • Additional sample from 2nd case for confirmation

Situation of COVID-19 in Ghana

  • Ghana has seen a decline in active COVID-19 cases in the past week
  • Greater Accra region still accounts for high proportion of nationally reported cases
  • Very low number of COVID-19 cases among international arrivals
  • Four regions (North-West, North-East, Savane and Haut-Ouest) have no active cases
  • 12 deaths reported between June 1, 2022 to date
  • 6,198 cases recorded over the same period (lethality – 0.12%)

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