Public Health Minister, Dr Manaouda Malachie has issued an advisory for increased vigilance as Cameroon seeks to prevent the spread of the Marburg virus from neighbouring Equatorial Guinea. Assuring compatriots that no case of the virus had been detected on Cameroonian soil, Dr Manaouda urged authorities, healthcare partners and the general population to play their part in keeping the virus out.
The Ministry of Public Health, he said in a February 14 press release, is already taking action by strengthening epidemiological surveillance, initiating multisector investigations and active search for cases and contact persons in risk areas, as well as community awareness and mobilization activities.
Nursing staff, he urged, should “immediately notify and isolate any suspected case and avoid moving them. Compliance with infection prevention and control rules must be respected.”
The official in his release, also urged locals to be on guard, improve hygienic practices and watch their dieting habits. “given that transmission occurs through contact with an infected animal, direct contact with body fluids of an infected person and with contaminated surfaces and materials, Dr Manaouda Malachie reiterates to the populations on the border with Equatorial Guinea inparticular and to the entire country in general, compliance with standard hygiene rules,” read a portion of the statement.
Practices recommended include properly washing and cooking food, avoiding sexual intercourse and contact with body fluids of sick persons, avoiding sick or dead wild animals, and washing hands regularly with clean soap and running water.
Lingering COVID-19 ghost
First recognized in 1967, the Marburg virus is a haemorrhagic fever belonging to the same filovirus family as Ebola, with a 90% fatality rate. It was recently confirmed in Equatorial Guinea, with a couple of deaths recorded already, along the border with Cameroon’s South region, posing a direct threat to the Ambam, Olamze and Kye-Ossi health districts.
The threat brings to mind, the Covid-19 pandemic and the damages it left in its way, for over two years. It also raises the question of the readiness of the health system to contain the spread, in the case of a large-scale breakout like was the case with the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to the lack of adequate infrastructure in some cases, billions of FCFA meant to manage the pandemic remain unaccounted for to date.
Poise News Desk