The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending personnel to Africa to help quell a rare, deadly viral outbreak that has killed 12 people since February.
Marburg — a viral hemorrhagic fever — had never been reported in either Guinea or Tanzania, where cases have been cropping up in the last several weeks, the World Health Organization said.
The CDC warns that Marburg is “a rare and deadly disease” that can be spread by contaminated objects and animals, like fruit bats and primates.
Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, rash, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, chest pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising.
“Infection with Marburg virus is often fatal. There are no approved vaccines or treatments for Marburg,” the agency warns.
The agency is sending its National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases to two regions on opposite sides of the country where the disease is spreading.
The CDC also plans to post notices in international airports warning them about the symptoms of the disease.
Though the CDC hasn’t implemented any travel restrictions, the WHO is warning against “any travel and trade restrictions” with either Guinea or Tanzania.
Guinea was the first to report the disease on February 7 — The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Equatorial Guinea revealed that eight people had died in two separate villages all on the same day.
The agency reported 20 probable cases and one additional death as of March 21.
Since March 16, Tanzania — on the opposite side of Africa — has reported eight cases, including five deaths of Marburg.
The first identified case identified in Tanzania had brought the virus to his village after traveling from Goziba Island in Lake Victoria in another area of the country, the WHO said.
It is unclear how Marburg entered either country.