The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging travelers to Guinea and Tanzania to be mindful of contracting the deadly Marburg virus. The CDC is also sending personnel to Africa to assist stopping the outbreak of the disease.
The Marburg virus is an infectious disease that has high fatality rates and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), has epidemic potential.
This week, the CDC announced that it is sending its National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases to respond to the outbreaks in Guinea and Tanzania.
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This week, the CDC urged travelers in Guinea and Tanzania to avoid contact with sick people, healthcare facilities in the outbreak areas and to watch for symptoms for three weeks after leaving the area.
In February, Equatorial Guinea announced the first outbreak of the virus and the country has since counted officially nine cases with an additional 20 probable cases, all of whom have died, according to WHO.
About 1,800 miles away, across the continent, Tanzania is also reporting a Marburg outbreak and has confirmed eight cases, including five deaths, according to WHO.
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The virus is a rare and deadly disease which causes fever, chills, muscle pain, rash, sore throat, diarrhea, weakness or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
According to the CDC, the Marburg virus can be spread through “blood or body fluids of a person infected with or who has died from Marburg.”
The virus is also spread by contact with contaminated objects (such as clothing, bedding, needles, and medical equipment) or by contact with animals, such as bats.
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In 2018, at the Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Python Cave, CDC scientists spearheaded a project after tourists and nearby village experienced outbreaks of the virus.
According to the CDC, health experts investigated where the bats go at night to better understand how the virus is transmitted to humans by putting GPS units on the backs of bats to track their movements.