Nigeria reports that two people in Ghana who later died tested positive for Marburg virus, a highly infectious disease similar to Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
Tests conducted in Ghana came back positive, but those results must be confirmed by a laboratory in Senegal for the cases to be considered confirmed, the WHO said in a statement.
The two patients in the southern Ashanti region both had symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting, before dying in hospital, the statement said.
If the cases are confirmed, this would be only the second outbreak of Marburg in West Africa.
The first ever case of the virus was detected last year in Guinea, with no further cases identified.
“Preparations for a possible outbreak response are being set up swiftly as further investigations are underway,” the WHO said.
There have been a dozen major Marburg outbreaks since 1967, mostly in southern and eastern Africa. Fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88% in past outbreaks depending on the virus strain and case management, according to the WHO.