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20 July 2024

Statement on spread of Marburg virus in Tanzania and Guinea

MoHAP urges the public to be aware of the virus causing Marburg hemorrhagic fever

By E247

•    Marburg is a rare hemorrhagic fever that can be transmitted to humans through exposure to animals in enclosed settings such as mines or caves.
•    Travelers coming from Tanzania and Guinea should self-isolate and go to the nearest health facility.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has urged the public to be aware of the virus causing Marburg hemorrhagic fever and to avoid travelling to Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea unless it’s necessary due to the recent spread of Marburg virus. This comes after several Arab countries advised their citizens to postpone traveling to those two countries due to the same concern. 

The Ministry has emphasized that all necessary precautions are being taken in accordance with international health standards to contain the virus in its current geographical scope. The situation in these countries is being closely monitored to determine the global severity of the disease, MoHAP said in a statement.

The Ministry stated that precautionary measures are being taken to ensure public safety and promote health awareness. It is recommended that individuals postpone their travel to countries where the Marburg virus is spreading, unless it is absolutely necessary. If travel is unavoidable, necessary precautions should be taken to avoid exposure to the disease, such as avoiding close contact with patients, touching contaminated surfaces, and refraining from visiting caves and mines.

The Ministry also reaffirmed the importance of frequently washing hands with soap and water. If these are not readily available, people should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Additionally, individuals should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with their hands and ensure proper hand hygiene before touching their face.

For those who have traveled from affected areas, the Ministry recommends isolating themselves from others and seeking medical attention at the nearest health facility or emergency department within hospitals. Those who travelled to affected areas should inform medical staff that they have been to an area where Marburg virus disease is spreading or have been in contact with infected individuals, or exhibit symptoms for up to 21 days.

The Ministry called on the public to verify the accuracy of information and follow the preventive measures issued by the MoHAP and other health authorities in the country. It advised them not to circulate rumors or any information that has not been officially announced or issued by relevant authorities. The Ministry stressed that the UAE’s epidemiological surveillance system is very effective and is in constant coordination with other health authorities.
Marburg virus disease is a severe and life-threatening hemorrhagic fever that is rare but highly dangerous to human health. The disease is caused by the Marburg virus, a zoonotic RNA virus that is transmitted from animals to humans in a closed environment, such as mines or caves inhabited by bats.

Symptoms of Marburg virus develop suddenly and include fever, chills, headache, myalgia, chest pain, and a sore throat. As the disease progresses, symptoms become increasingly severe and may include jaundice, severe weight loss, and other serious health complications.