Sierra Leone, Freetown: Health officials in both the Port Loko and Kambia Districts in Sierra Leone say they have been placed on high alert for the Marburg virus which has reportedly surfaced in neighbouring Guinea.
On 9th August 2021, neighboring Guinea reported confirmed cases of the deadly Marburg virus, which raised a lot of panic and discussion within the mainstream and social media in relation to the country’s preparedness in case we have an outbreak.
Since Guinea and Kambia share borders, the authorities of Kambia and Port Loko have assured Sierra Leoneans that they are doing all they could to ensure that they protect the people within their districts and the country as a whole.
Port Loko District Operation Officer (DOO) David Kanu said they have their rapid response team in place, adding “We are always ready and we are doing effective case search and community based surveillance.”
He furthered that even though they are encountering challenges, “It is a dangerous virus and we are working very hard as a team to prevent it from coming into Port Loko.”
Mr. Kanu said “If we have any semblance of Ebola or Marburg, the report will come from the health workers and the surveillance team in the district, and we will mount an immediate investigation into the process.”
Beside the health facilities he said they also have surveillance structures at the village level manned by the community health workers, who report directly to the PHU and the PHU in turn will then report to the district surveillance team.
The District Health Education Officer in Kambia, Hassan Dumbuya said that Marburg is very similar to Ebola. “If you prepared for Ebola, you have prepared for Marburg; both of them are hemorrhagic fever. The modes of transmissions are the same and the preventive measures are very similar.”
Mr. Kanu said “I will not say we are 100% in control, but a lot of it has been made by the DMHT and its partners in protecting the district from any outbreak”.
Marburg Virus is an haemorrhagic fever of the Filoviridae family of viruses and a member of the species Marburg Marburgvirus, genus Marburg virus.
It is considered to be extremely dangerous and the World Health Organisation (WHO) rates it as a Risk Group 4 Pathogen.