Ghana has officially confirmed two cases of the Marburg virus, a highly infectious disease similar to Ebola, its health services said on Sunday, after two people who later died tested positive for the virus earlier this month.
Tests conducted in Ghana came back positive on July 10, but the results had to be verified by a laboratory in Senegal for the cases to be considered confirmed, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
"Further testing at the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, has corroborated the results," Ghana Health Service (GHS) said in a statement. GHS is working to reduce any risk of the virus spreading, including the isolation of all identified contacts, none of whom have developed any symptoms so far, it said.
This is only the second outbreak of Marburg in West Africa. The first ever case of the virus was detected last year in Guinea, with no further cases identified. The two patients in the southern Ashanti region both had symptoms, including diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting, before dying in hospital, the WHO said earlier.
There have been a dozen major Marburg outbreaks since 1967, mostly in southern and eastern Africa. Fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88% in past outbreaks depending on the virus strain and case management, according to the WHO.