Health Ministry Issues Warning on Potential Entry of Marburg Virus

Marburg Virus
Virus Identification

The Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) of the Republic of Indonesia has started to be cautious about the potential entry of the Marburg virus into the country, a virus that is said to have a high fatality rate.

The spokesperson for Kemenkes, Mohammad Syahril, has warned the government and the public not to be complacent about the potential entry of the Marburg virus into the country.

“We need to remain vigilant and anticipate the Marburg virus disease,” he said in an official statement on Tuesday (March 28th).

Currently, the government has issued a Circular on Alertness to the Marburg Virus Disease. Local governments, healthcare facilities, and related stakeholders are asked to be cautious.

Indonesia has already conducted a rapid risk assessment of the virus disease on February 20th, with results showing that the likelihood of imported the virus cases in Indonesia is relatively low.

However, Syahril still warns the public to remain cautious because the disease caused by the Marburg virus has a high fatality rate, with rates reaching up to 88%.

This virus is part of the same family as the Ebola virus, and human-to-human transmission occurs through direct contact with infected humans or animals. The virus can also be transmitted through contaminated objects.

The host bat, Rousettur aegyptiacus, is the carrier of the Marburg virus, but this bat is not found in Indonesia. This virus causes a rare hemorrhagic fever disease, with symptoms similar to other diseases such as malaria, typhoid, and dengue fever commonly found in Indonesia.

“This similarity of symptoms makes it difficult to identify the Marburg virus disease,” said Syahril.

This disease can cause bleeding from the nose, gums, vagina, or through vomiting and feces. Bleeding usually appears on the fifth to seventh day.

To date, there is no vaccine available to prevent Marburg virus transmission. Currently, there are two Marburg vaccines in phase 1 clinical trials, namely the Sabin strain vaccine and the Janssen vaccine.

“There is no specific medication. Treatment [of Marburg virus infection] is symptomatic and supportive, namely treating complications and maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance,” said Syahril.

Previously reported, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded nine deaths from the virus in Equatorial Guinea. Symptoms experienced include fever, fatigue, bloody vomiting, and diarrhea.

Equatorial Guinea itself has declared a state of emergency since February due to the outbreak of the Marburg virus.