February 17, 2023
BANGKOK – Dr. Opas said the Marburg virus is spreading in the central African region, particularly in Equatorial Guinea. There have been nine confirmed deaths and 16 suspected cases of the disease.
Both Marburg and Ebola viruses belong to the same family — Filoviridae.
He said that Marburg virus was listed as one of 13 dangerous communicable diseases under the Communicable Disease Act (2015).
Those infected were found to develop symptoms including severe headache, high fever, and bloody diarrhoea, with the fatality rates varying up to 88% depending on the virus strain and the quality of case management, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The virus was first discovered in bats before it spread to humans. People can contract the Marburg virus through direct contact with blood and excretion of those infected, as well as through virus-contaminated surfaces and materials, he added.
He said symptomatic treatment has been utilised as there is neither vaccination nor specific medication available.
Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said that no Marburg cases had been reported in Thailand so far.
Owing to the increasing number of visitors to Thailand, the department would closely monitor the situation through the WHO, he added.
Tares said that even though travellers from Equatorial Guinea and its neighbouring countries are currently not prohibited from entering Thailand, entrance restrictions would apply to travellers from those nations.
Thailand has tightened restrictions and urged health centres throughout the country to be on alert, as the two possible cases of the virus on the Cameroon – Equatorial Guinea boundary have just been reported, he added.
Tares advised those who might have the illness to notify local health service centres.