The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory Thursday warning U.S. doctors against the rare but usually fatal Marburg virus after outbreaks in Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania.

According to NBC News, the Tanzania health ministry announced several confirmed cases of Marburg in March, pointing to eight recent cases of the disease, five of those being fatal. “Equatorial Guinea, meanwhile, confirmed 14 Marburg cases between Feb. 7 and April 5, according to the CDC. Ten of those were fatal,” the news report said.

The advisory said most experts agree the two outbreaks were linked to direct animal-to-human interaction and not in connection to each other, with the mortality rate for those infected without early diagnosis or proper medical care between 23%-90%.

Marburg virus outbreak in Ghana kills 2

Amira Roess, global health and epidemiology professor at George Mason University, told NBC News, “We’re definitely seeing an increase in those more severe cases and we’re also seeing just more transmission in the areas where we haven’t seen these viruses before.”

According to CBS News, this is the first outbreak of the virus in both foreign countries and is among the largest spreads of disease experienced on the African continent for the last decade.

This comes after an outbreak in Ghana killed two people last year, reported previously by the Deseret News.

What is Marburg virus?

The Marburg virus is a highly infectious hemorrhagic fever similar to the Ebola virus, able to infect animals and humans through “direct contact to bodily fluids, surfaces and materials that carry the virus,” per the Deseret News.

Someone with the virus is not contagious until symptoms appear. Those symptoms include “fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal symptoms or unexplained bleeding,” according to the health advisory.

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The CDC said that a couple of days after experiencing symptoms, a rash may appear, accompanied by vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain.

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The health advisory reported there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. or other countries relating to the recent outbreaks.

Treatments for Marburg virus

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve a vaccine or treatment for Marburg, CBS News said work from many vaccine candidates is in progress.

According to the health advisory, testing for the virus is conducted at 32 laboratories and eight treatment centers, located throughout the U.S.

The CDC said proper medical care to help victims with the disease includes balancing fluids and electrolytes, replacing lost blood and treating any additional infections the patient has.

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