Marburg Virus in Cameroon: More Fear than Harm

The Minister of Public Health, Dr Manaouda Malachie says there are no cases of the Marburg Virus in Cameroon.

Minister Manaouda expatiated on this during a meeting with partners of the Ministry of Public Health following an outbreak of the virus in neighbouring Equatorial Guinea.

Though two suspected cases were reported in the South Region, the Public Health Boss dismissed fears indicating that the samples taken pointed to malaria and not the dreaded virus.


The Minister of Public Health, Dr Manaouda Malachie says there are no cases of the Marburg Virus in Cameroon.

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Outbreak of Marburg Virus in Equatorial Guinea

On February 7, 2023, local health authorities in Equatorial Guinea reported an unknown illness causing haemorrhagic fever in the Nsok-Nsomo district of the Kie-Ntem Province.

The WHO reports that samples of those infected were sent to a laboratory in Senegal that confirmed one as positive for Marburg Virus.

At press time, about nine deaths had been recorded with about 16 other cases detected and about 200 people put in quarantine.

With Cameroon’s South Region being closest to the Nsok-Nsomo District, movement has been restricted by authorities of the Ministry of Public Health in other to avoid any risks of contamination.

About the Marburg Virus

The Centre for Disease Control explains, “The Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) is a rare but severe hemorrhagic fever which affects both people and non-human primates. MVD is caused by the Marburg virus, a genetically unique zoonotic (or animal-borne) RNA virus of the filovirus family.”

The virus was first noticed in 1967, when outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia).

The African fruit bat is said to be the reservoir host of the virus.

After the bat infects a human, the person could then begin the human-to-human infection cycle.

The Marburg Virus spreads from one human to another through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Transmission Routes

– Blood or body fluids (urine, saliva, sweat, faeces, vomit, breastmilk, amniotic fluid, and semen) of a person who is sick with or died from the MVD.

– Objects contaminated with body fluids from a person who is sick with or has died from the Marburg Virus disease (such as clothes, bedding, needles, and medical equipment).

– Semen from a man who recovered from MVD (through oral, vaginal, or anal sex).

It is important to note that research shows that the Marburg Virus, just like the Ebola Virus, persists in the testicles and inside the eye.

Statistics indicate that 16 countries have experienced outbreaks of the Marburg Virus with 11 cases reported in Africa.

Cameroon on the Offensive to Pre-empt Infections

The Government of Cameroon is already taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus from Equatorial Guinea to Cameroon.

The measures include the restriction of movement along the borders with Equatorial Guinea and the reporting of any suspected cases.

Eleanor Ayuketah Ngochi

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