The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has asked regional and district health facilities, as well as public health emergency management committees, to include the Marburg viral disease on their agenda by way of preparedness and response plan to contain the Marburg virus following a confirmed case of the Marburg virus in neighbouring West African country, Guinea, in which the victim is dead.
Besides, facilities at all border posts, including port health units, particularly those along the western border and all landing beaches, are to heighten surveillance for Marburg.
The GHS has indicated that the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research has the capacity to confirm the Marburg virus and those samples from suspected cases could be transported there.
It has warned that under no circumstance should a public or private transport be used in transporting a suspected Marburge case; rather the respective District Directors of GHS should be contacted for the transfer of such persons to a health facility.
The Marburg virus disease is said to be transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads between humans through the transmission of bodily fluids and that it is a severe, fatal illness with symptoms including headache, fever, muscle pains, vomiting of blood and unusual bleeding.
The preventive measures include avoidance of contact with body fluids (such as urine, saliva and sweat of people who show symptoms; hand hygiene; and not handling items that many people have come in contact with and dead bodies, including participating in ritual for the funeral or burial of suspected or confirmed Marburg cases.
The last piece of advice is that we should seek medical care when we develop fever or show other symptoms.
The Ghanaian Times would continue to commend the leadership of the GHS for giving timely information on diseases, more especially infectious ones like the COVID-19 pandemic, to guide healthy public behaviour.
This paper can say on authority that the biggest problem in healthcare is the ‘health misbehaviour’ of people, including the patient in some cases. We have seen this in the refusal of people to adhere to the COVID-19 safety measures.
Medical history has it that infectious diseases, whether endemic or pandemic, are not new in these days. The literature says the Plague of Justinian (541–542 AD) was the first known pandemic on record.
The smallpox, for example, is said to have killed more people than all the wars in history, but today it has been eradicated alongside the 1918 influenza pandemic and other such diseases.
Other once-dreaded diseases like cholera have been put to check, though not eradicated.
What it means is that we of the present generation have a history and a body of scientific knowledge to learn from.
Therefore, let everyone of us listen to the health experts and follow the various safety measures to avoid being infected with deadly infections like COVID-19, Marburg (which is said to be like the deadly Ebola), cholera and meningitis.
The Marburg disease shares some of its safety measures with COVID-19, so we should adhere strictly to these measures and stay safe from both diseases and, by extension, other such infectious diseases.