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How Doctors Are Stopping The Marburg Virus From Turning Into a Pandemic

Stories about the Marburg Virus are creeping into news feeds around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) is declaring the first-ever outbreak of the Ebola-like virus in Ghana. On the heels of a worldwide pandemic that still isn't over, news about another virus can be an emotional trigger for people struggling with anxiety. Here's why you shouldn't hit the panic button just yet.

Infection can be easily prevented

Experts say there are a number of ways you can prevent the infection. Right now, the main recommendations are nowhere close to what they were for covid. For example, they aren't recommending masking, physical distancing, or anything similar. For healthcare workers they recommend using gloves, and while there are further recommendations for people working on pig farms or with animal meat, none of those recommendations are meant for the general public. This virus is spread in very specific ways, and doesn't have the same pandemic like properties as Covid.

No one is expecting a worldwide pandemic

Authorities responded quickly in the hope of containing it, according to Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. Marburg can "easily get out of hand" without immediate containment, but "health authorities have responded swiftly, getting a head start preparing for a possible outbreak," she said. 98 contacts of the patients are being monitored and have been quarantined, per the Ghana Health Service. The virus is not known to be native to other continents, such as North America, and the CDC says cases outside Africa are “infrequent.”

Early care dramatically improves recovery

The rate of survival dramatically improves with rehydration and symptomatic treatment. Although there isn't a licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus, there are a range of blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies currently under development. Doctors can alleviate the symptoms by giving hospital patients plenty of fluids and replacing lost blood.

Community engagement has been proven to prevent outbreaks

Health experts say communities can make efforts to ensure that the population is well informed. This includes both the nature of the disease itself and necessary containment measures.

Help is already on the way

Organizations around the world are already sending infection prevention and control supplies for health care workers. This includes PPE, medical clothing and specific disinfectants. UNICEF and the World Health Organization are providing medical supplies. A team of experts from the World Health Organisation is expected to be deployed to Ghana over the next couple of days to provide coordination, risk assessment, and infection prevention measures in support of ongoing investigations into the latest outbreak of the Marburg virus.

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