Deadly Ebola-like virus detected for first time as patient bleeds to death

A deadly Ebola-like Marburg virus "must be stopped in its tracks", warns the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Guinea in West Africa has recorded an outbreak of the Marburg virus which kills 88% of those infected and could "spread far and wide".

The WHO's regional director for Africa warns that if swift action is not taken, we could see a repeat of the devastation caused by Ebola.

West Africa was hit by the fast-spreading killer disease between 2013 and 2016, overwhelming hospitals in the region.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa, said: "The potential for the Marburg virus to spread far and wide means we need to stop it in its tracks.

"We are working with the health authorities to implement a swift response that builds on Guinea’s past experience and expertise in managing Ebola, which is transmitted in a similar way."

According to a WHO alert, a man from Gueckedou in Guinea – near the borders of Sierra Leone and Liberia – died on August 2, the day after visiting a small health clinic.

His location has sparked fears neighbouring countries are at risk of being hit by Marburg.

The Sun reports that four people who had been in close contact with the patient showed no symptoms.

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His death comes just two months after Guinea was declared Ebola free having suffered a brief flare-up that killed 12 people.

WHO confirmed an investigation has been launched to hunt down the source of the infection and anyone else who may have come into contact with the fatality.

Following sporadic cases across the rest of the continent including South Africa and Kenya, this is the recording of the Marburg virus in West Africa.

The virus which was first identified in 1967, is from the same pathogen family as Ebola but has no known treatments or vaccines.

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Its name comes from the initial outbreak in Marburg, Germany, with further cases in Frankfurt and Belgrade, Serbia.

Laboratories using African green monkeys from Uganda were blamed for its spread and is known to have transmitted to people via fruit bats.

Human to human infections are via bodily fluids.

Symptoms include fever, headache, chest pain, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Many infected people will suffer haemorrhaging within a week.

The patient in Guinea first developed symptoms on July 25 – a week before his death.

Marburg is listed by the WHO as a top ten priority disease, meaning it poses "the greatest public health risk".

Angola suffered the worst epidemic in 2005 when 90% of the 252 people infected in the southern African country died, The Sun reports.

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