The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday that there have been eight further confirmed cases of Marburg disease in Equatorial Guinea.
Since the epidemic of the fatal disease comparable to Ebola was identified in February, there have been nine laboratory-confirmed cases and 20 probable cases. There have reportedly been 20 fatalities.
The WHO said in a statement that of the eight new cases, two were reported from the Kie-Ntem province of the Central African nation, four from the Litoral province, and two from the Centre-Sur province.
The areas reporting cases are about 150 kilometres (93 miles) apart, suggesting a wider transmission of the virus, the WHO said.
“The confirmation of these new cases is a critical signal to scale up response efforts to quickly stop the chain of transmission,” WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said in the statement.
Marburg virus disease is a viral haemorrhagic fever that can have a fatality rate of up to 88%, according to the WHO.
Symptoms include fever, fatigue and blood-stained vomit and diarrhoea. There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat it.
Neighbouring Cameroon also detected two suspected cases of Marburg disease last month despite restricting movement along the border to avoid contagion.