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We’re ready to tackle cases of Marburg Virus in Oyo- Alonge

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Temitope Alonge, the Coordinator, Oyo State Infectious Disease Centre, says the state government is prepared to tackle cases of Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) any time there is an outbreak.

Alonge, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan, on Saturday said that early detection of infectious diseases, like the deadly Marburg, was essential to its containment.

NAN reports that outbreak of Marburg, an infectious viral haemorrhagic fever in the same family of Ebola virus disease, was first recorded in Ghana on July 17.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) is a highly virulent disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent.

“It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola virus disease.

Two large outbreaks that occurred simultaneously in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany, and in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1967, led to the initial recognition of the disease.

“The outbreak was associated with laboratory work using African green monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) imported from Uganda.

“Subsequently, outbreaks and sporadic cases have been reported in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa (in a person with recent travel history to Zimbabwe) and Uganda.”
Alonge, also a former Chief Medical Director of University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, said: “We are not afraid of the Marburg Virus, because it is not new and we have always been prepared.

“What we need is to recognise the disease early so that we can begin to treat it (MVD).

“It is not the first time we have viral haemorrhagic diseases; so, it is not scary and we don’t want unnecessary public panic.”
Commenting, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Olabode Ladipo, said that the state COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre had been overhauled.

According to Ladipo, it has been expanded to respond to all other medical emergencies, including other viral disease outbreaks and epidemics.

“The Emergency Operations has been overhauled and made an integral part of the response of the state Ministry of Health.

“The emergency operations, as it stands then, was for COVID-19, but now, it responds to all medical emergencies,” he said.

Also, Dr Oluseyi Olayinka, a Virologist, lecturing in the Department of Virology, College of Medicine, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, said, “the virulent virus can be spread through direct contact with an infected person”.

According to him, direct contact with a person’s bodily fluids, including blood, saliva, sweat and semen, increases the risk of contracting MVD.

“Marburg Virus Disease initially detected in 1967 in Marburg, Germany, is in the same family as the Ebola Virus and they cause haemorrhagic fever.

“The fatality rate of Marburg is over 80 per cent, that is if 10 people are infected with Marburg, you are likely to have eight people die of the disease and only two people will recover.

“With such a high fatality rate, you don’t play with such an infectious disease,” he said.

Olayinka said the incubation period of infections with the Marburg virus “is between two to 21 days before symptoms appeared”.

According to him, effective surveillance programme is capable of picking up the virus early to contain it.

“Disease reporting is still very poor in Nigeria.

”We need to step up our game at disease reporting and monitoring our borders,” he said.

NewsSourceCredit: NAN

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