NewsDesk @bactiman63

Today, the Cameroon Ministry of Health published the following news release (computer translated) concerning Marburg virus, which has been confirmed in neighboring Equatorial Guinea and media reporting suspected cases in Cameroon:

Public domain via wikimedia commons

To date, no death or confirmed case related to this haemorrhagic fever has been notified. On alert since February 9, 2023, Cameroon is working to strengthen its surveillance, preparedness and response system. This is what emerges from the consultation meeting which mobilized on February 14, 2023 around Dr MANAOUDA Malachie, the sectoral public administrations and the technical and financial partners. 

From the assessment made of the country’s capacities to respond effectively to this threat if it were to impose itself, it clearly appears that Cameroon is ready or almost. 

The laboratories are capable of carrying out the analysis, sequencing and viral load of the samples. Also, surveillance has been strengthened with the deployment of Rapid Investigation and Intervention Teams and active case finding. In the same vein, health personnel from Kye-Ossi, Olamze and Ambam health districts were briefed on infection prevention and control. In addition, the management capacities of these districts have been assessed and strengthened, community dialogue to encourage the involvement of community and religious leaders in the detection of cases has been established. The preparedness and response plan for viral haemorrhagic diseases is being finalized. 

To this end, the technical and financial partners present at this working session (WHO, UNICEF, MSF, CDC, EGPAF, the Red Cross) have undertaken to provide the Government with their contributions to this preparation in the areas of training, sensitization, communication on risks and community involvement but also in the delivery of inputs to areas at risk.

The sectoral administrations not being outdone, they each presented, as far as they are concerned, the steps taken since the announcement of the alert.

By congratulating on the one hand the surveillance system of the Public Health Emergency Operations Coordination Center for its mobilization even in times of calm and especially for its spontaneity in the implementation of operations and on the other hand the Deputy prefect of the Ntem valley for his leadership in the management of the various teams, the Minister of Public Health invited all the stakeholders to become more involved and to take all the necessary measures in their various sectors to block the way to a possible importation of the disease or its spread. The Patron of Health also informed the audience that these meetings will be held regularly to better coordinate preparation and response.

It should be remembered that the Marburg virus disease currently raging in Equatorial Guinea, in eight border villages in the southern region, is today on its 16th appearance, including 11 in Africa, since the recording of the first case in 1967 in Marburg, Germany. . From the same family as Ebola virus hemorrhagic fever, it is a zoonosis transmitted by direct contact with the infected animal or person. Handling bodies, population movements, contact with soiled objects are some of the exposure factors. It has an incubation of 2 to 21 days with a case fatality rate that can reach up to 88% during large outbreaks. So far, there are no drugs that have been proven effective, let alone a vaccine.