Sierra Leon’s Ministry of Health has on Thursday, Decembber 20, 2018, announced the discovery of the Marburg Virus, which is a cousin to the Ebola virus that ravaged the country between 2014 and 2016.
This news was first broke by Kemo Cham on his Facebook page. Mr Cham, a Gambian journalist based in the West African nation Sierra Leone, is the Editor of FreeMedia Group (Publishers of Politico Newspaper) in Sierra Leone.
According to him, the Marburg virus is in the same family with the Ebola virus. Scientists say Marburg virus can be spread from infected bats to humans, and from humans to humans, causing the Marburg Virus Disease (MVD), which, like Ebola, is a deadly hemorrhagic fever disease.
Scientists working with Njala University and University of Makeni, in collaboration with the University of California, Davis and the USAID and CDC, found the virus in five cave eating fruits bats in three districts: Moyamba in the south, Koinadu in the north, and Kono in the east of the country.
The discovery is the first of its kind in West Africa.
But the scientists warn that the bats in which the virus was found is common in many African countries and therefore it couldn’t be surprising to see the virus in other West African countries.