Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Malabo (February 14, 2023)
Location: Equatorial Guinea
Event: On February 13, 2023, the Government of Equatorial Guinea (GREG) announced a health alert for a localized outbreak of the Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) in the Kie-Ntem province and the Mongomo district of the Wele-Nzas province, both located in the mainland region of the country. The disease was identified following laboratory analysis conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to GREG’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MINSABS), there have been nine confirmed deaths associated with the MVD outbreak. There are currently an additional 16 suspected cases, 14 of whom are asymptomatic. MINSABS has conducted contact tracing for the infected people and is working alongside the WHO to contain the outbreak and care for the affected individuals. Around 4,300 people in the Kie-Ntem province have been placed under home quarantine and are being monitored by health officials. A general quarantine has been applied to all of Kie-Ntem, making travel out of the province impossible. As of February 13, there have been no reported cases of MVD in larger cities on the mainland or on Bioko Island, where the capital city of Malabo is located. The land border between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon remains closed.
MVD is a dangerous, potentially life-threatening disease, but outbreaks are rare, and data on the disease’s transmission and mortality rates are sparse. The primary host for the Marburg virus, which can infect both humans and primates, is the African fruit bat. Transmission between humans occurs through direct person-to-person contact, primarily through bodily fluids. The incubation period ranges from two to 21 days, and there is currently no preventative vaccine against MVD. More information on MVD can be found on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
Actions to Take:
- Do not travel to the Kie-Ntem province and surrounding areas until MINSABS and the WHO advise it is safe to do so.
- If you reside in the Kie-Ntem province and/or are subject to the quarantine, alert the U.S. Embassy and follow instructions given by WHO and MINSABS officials.
- Immediately report to a medical professional if you experience fever, muscle soreness, weakness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or hemorrhaging.
- Do not consult with traditional healers if you are experiencing these symptoms, as it could endanger their safety and the well-being of your community.
- Avoid contact with any individuals experiencing these symptoms or any people who have had contact with individuals displaying those symptoms.
- Do not eat bushmeat, especially monkeys and other primates. Avoid contact with animal cadavers for any reason.
- Practice good hygiene, including regular hand washing.
- Avoid large gatherings and wear a mask when in enclosed spaces.
- Do not attend wakes or funerals.
- Do not attempt to cross the land border between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon.
- Monitor news programs and websites to stay abreast of new health announcements from the government.
- Check your email regularly for additional updates from U.S. Embassy Malabo.
For Assistance and Information:
U.S. Embassy Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
+(240) 333-095-741 or +(240) 555-516-008 (after hours)
State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
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