Oman and Australia warn travelers of the risks of Marburg in Africa

Australia and Oman have published official warnings and guidance for travelers to Africa to raise awareness of the risks associated with the Marburg virus.
Christopher McFadden
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Travelers to some African countries have be warned to care due to Marburg outbreak.

ArtMarie/iStock 

Due to the spread of a hazardous virus, the Australian government just published a travel advisory for three places, the New Zealand Herald reports. The government has told travelers who want to go to Tanzania, Uganda, or Gabon to be careful. The reason for this cautionary advice is the outbreak of the Marburg virus in these regions.

Marburg is a viral hemorrhagic fever very similar to Ebola and is well known for how easily it spreads. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “viral hemorrhagic fever” is a condition that affects many body organ systems, damages the overall cardiovascular system, and reduces the body's ability to function independently."

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the fatality rate has increased to 88 percent. The WHO has also sent people to Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania to help deal with confirmed disease cases there.

“The Tanzanian Government has confirmed an outbreak of Marburg virus in the Bukoba District in Kagera Region,” says the SmartTraveller website, part of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “You should take steps to reduce potential exposure to the virus, including practicing good hygiene and avoiding high-risk activities,” it adds.

Dubai's Emirates Airlines has also warned about the virus following a mandate from the Omani authorities.

The issue statement reads, “Due to the confirmed outbreak of the Marburg virus in the Republic of Tanzania and Guinea, customers arriving in Oman who have traveled from the impacted countries must isolate themselves and seek immediate assistance if they feel unwell within 21 days of travel. The Oman authorities advise travelers to postpone trips to countries affected by the Marburg virus and take precautions if the [journey] is urgent. Further details are available on the Oman Ministry of Health website.“

The Oman Ministry noted that efforts are being made to contain the outbreak within its current geographical scope. According to the Oman Ministry, the following precautions should be taken to avoid the highly infectious disease:

  • Avoid direct contact with patients with symptoms like fever, muscle ache, and skin rash, as well as avoid visiting areas affected by Marburg Virus Disease (MVD).
  • Avoid contact with blood and other body fluids, in general, from other people.
  • Avoid contact with fruit bats or visiting mines and caves inhabited by these bats.
  • Avoid contact with animals such as chimpanzees and gorillas.
  • Travelers who are infected with fever, chills, muscle pain, skin rash, sore throat, diarrhea, weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, or unprovoked bleeding from anywhere or bruising during or after travel (till 21 days) should isolate themselves from others and head to the nearest healthcare institution (emergencies departments in hospitals). They should disclose to medical staff whether they have traveled to the infected areas or contacted people with Marburg Virus Disease (MVD).

The symptoms of Marburg virus disease are reported to include fever, vomiting blood, diarrhea, and fatigue.

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