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Indonesian Health Ministry Warns of Marburg Virus

28 March 2023 21:05 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe Indonesian Government issued a circular on precautions for Marburg virus disease. Local governments, health service facilities, Port Health Office, health human resources, and related stakeholders are asked to be vigilant against the deadly virus.

A spokesperson for the Health Ministry Mohammad Syahril reminded the government and the public not to be headless about the virus. “We need to maintain early vigilance and anticipate the Marburg virus disease,” Syahril said in a statement, on Tuesday, March 28.

The World Health Organization (WHO) received a case report of Marburg disease originating from Equatorial Guinea on Monday, February 13, 2023. To date, no cases or suspicions of the fatal disease have been reported in Indonesia, but the government asks the public to stay alert.

Based on case reports received by WHO, there were nine deaths and 16 suspected cases reported in Kie Ntem Province. The symptoms include fever, fatigue, bloody vomiting, and diarrhea.

Of the eight samples examined, one sample tested positive for the Marburg virus. The Extraordinary Events (KLB) in Equatorial Guinea were estimated to have started on February 7, 2023.

Indonesia conducted a rapid risk assessment of Marburg virus disease on February 20, 2023, which resulted in a low possibility of imported Marburg virus cases.

Marburg Virus

Marburg virus (filovirus) is one of the deadliest viruses with a fatality rate of up to 88 percent. This disease is a rare disease of dengue fever. This virus is in the same family as the Ebola virus. Transmission to humans occurs through direct contact with infected people or animals, or through objects contaminated with the virus.

Marburg is transmitted through body fluids directly from bats/primates. The natural host bat for the virus is Rousettus aegyptiacus which is not native and has not been found in Indonesia. However, Indonesia is on the path of this bat mobilization.

The symptoms of this disease are similar to those of other diseases, such as malaria, typhus, and dengue fever, which are common in Indonesia. This, according to Syahril, makes it difficult to identify Marburg virus disease.

These symptoms include high fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding. This disease can also cause bleeding from the nose, gums, vagina, or through vomit and feces that appear from day 5 to day 7.

There is no vaccine against Marburg virus disease yet as it is still under development. At present, there are two vaccines entering phase 1 clinical trials, namely the Sabin vaccine and the Janssen vaccine. “There is no specific drug yet. The treatment is symptomatic and supportive, namely treating complications and maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance,” Syahril explained.

MARIA FRANSISCA LAHUR

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