What about the Marburg Virus?

What about the Marburg virus?

In Ghana, there have been two reported cases of Marburg virus disease this year. At this point, health researchers say there is no indication that the virus has spread further. Do we need to be concerned about the Marburg virus? What are its symptoms?

Ghana reported its first outbreak of Marburg virus disease after two unrelated people died on June 27 and 28. New reports of a viral infection causing lethal disease added to the concerns of a public weary of battling Coronavirus and recently alarmed by monkeypox and polio outbreaks.

In an effort to contain the spread of the infection, doctors and public health experts immediately began searching for anyone who had been exposed. The virus appears not to have spread further in Ghana and other parts of the world, health researchers said.

In 1967, outbreaks of Marburg hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany, as well as in Belgrade in what is now Serbia – in cases linked to African green monkeys imported from Uganda. According to the World Health Organization, other cases have been found in Angola, Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda. In Ghana, last month’s cases were the first to be reported.

Marburg virus disease is caused by the Marburg virus, according to health experts. In addition to hydrating patients and treating their specific symptoms, medical experts said there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments available for the disease.

Although it is caused by a different virus, WHO says the disease spreads, exhibits similar symptoms, and progresses similarly to Ebola. Researchers say Marburg’s virus does not cause illness in fruit bats, despite the fact that fruit bats are considered the virus’ hosts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ebola is likely carried by bats or nonhuman primates. Although Marburg has not spread widely, it has been deadly, with case fatality rates ranging from 24% to 88%, depending on the strain and how cases are handled. There is little difference in the death rate of Ebola cases.

According to WHO, the Marburg virus can spread through direct contact with blood, secretions, or other bodily fluids. Surfaces and materials contaminated with the virus, such as bedding or clothing, can also spread it.

The Marburg virus: urgent need to contain this close cousin of Ebola

As a result of Marburg, the blood cannot clot properly, resulting in severe viral hemorrhagic fever. According to WHO, symptoms begin abruptly with high fever, severe headache, and severe malaise after an incubation period of two to 21 days. Aside from muscle aches and diarrhea, nausea and lethargy, other symptoms include bleeding through vomit, feces, and other body parts. 

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Marburg is not contagious during the incubation period. A severe illness can lead to death eight to nine days after the onset of symptoms, according to the World Health Organization.

At the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine in Kumasi, Ghana, where Dr. John Amuasi leads the global health and infectious disease research group, mortality is very high. As for asymptomatic Marburg, there is none.

It is possible to confirm that a patient has Marburg through antibody testing, antigen testing, and polymerase chain reaction testing, according to health organizations.

Only two cases of Marburg virus disease have been reported in Ghana this year. The two people who contracted the virus were not related, and they lived in different parts of the Ashanti region, Amuasi said.

It was two men who worked on farms, he said. One was a 26-year-old farmhand who had recently been to another part of the country for work, and the other was a 56-year-old subsistence farmer. According to local authorities, the men had not been in the same places after tracing their contacts.

This virus is spread by fruit bats, which are common in Ashanti.

Over 200 people died of the disease in Angola between 2004 and 2005, and more than 100 people died in Congo between 1998 and 2000, according to the CDC. The number of cases involved in other outbreaks of Marburg has not been as high.

The CDC reports that three of four people in Uganda who had the disease in 2017 also died. In 2021, one case was reported in Guinea, which resulted in death.

Dr. Francis Kasolo, the WHO representative in Ghana, said experts are curious about how the two people contracted the virus.

There is more to the current investigation than just contacts, Kasolo said. “We also intend to review medical records to determine whether there were any unusual cases presenting with symptoms in these areas. That’s why we’re holding back on saying it’s just a one-time occurrence.

Dr. Jonathan Towner, chief of the CDC’s Virus-Host Ecology Section, said the CDC’s office in Ghana is working with local health authorities on testing and epidemiological investigations.

According to Towner, Americans are not at high risk for exposure. As of right now, there is a very low-risk probability that some travelers, for example, will enter the country with Marburg.

According to Amuasi, the public health response has been appropriate and transparent so far. In the 21 days following their deaths, the contacts of the two infected people were monitored.

What are the demands for Vatican Museums?

Vatican Museums night - Wanted in Rome

Indigenous people are raising questions about returning colonial collections in light of the Pope’s upcoming visit to Canada.

From Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel to ancient Egyptian antiquities, the Vatican Museums house some of the most magnificent artworks in the world. The museum’s least-visited collection is becoming one of its most controversial before Pope Francis’ trip to Canada begins on Sunday (23 July).

This trip is primarily intended to allow the Pope to apologize for the abuses Indigenous people and their ancestors suffered at the hands of Catholic missionaries in notorious residential schools on Canadian soil. So what are the groups demanding, and what do we know about the greater demand for returning colonized items?

There are tens of thousands of artifacts in the Vatican’s Anima Mundi Ethnological Museum, most of them sent to Rome by Catholic missionaries for an exhibition in 1925.

Feathered headdresses, carved walrus tusks, masks, and embroidered animal skins were gifts to Pope Pius XI in honor of the Church’s Church’s global reach, its missionaries, and the Indigenous peoples they evangelized.

Indigenous Canadian groups, who toured the Vatican last spring to meet with Francis, questioned how some of the works were acquired and wondered what other works might be in storage after decades of not being displayed. There are some who say they want them back. Cassidy Caron, president of the Metis National Council, who led the Metis delegation that asked Francis to return the items, said, “These pieces belong to us.”

The restitution of Indigenous and colonial-era artifacts, a pressing topic for museums and national collections across Europe, is among Francis’ agenda items. By returning the missionary collection items, Caron said. Indigenous peoples would be able to heal their intergenerational trauma and tell their own stories.

Vatican Museums to reopen on 3 May - Vatican News

“We had to hide our identities for so long. “We had to hide our culture and our traditions in order to keep our people safe,” she said. “At this moment, when we can be publicly proud to be Metis, we are reclaiming our identity. We tell stories about ourselves through these historical pieces.”

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Canadian policy also suppressed Indigenous spiritual and cultural traditions at home, including the 1885 Potlatch Ban.

Some of the items confiscated by government agents ended up in museums in Canada, the U.S., and Europe, as well as private collections. In the catalog of its Americas collection, the Vatican features a wooden painted mask from the Haida Gwaii islands of British Columbia that relates to potlatch ceremonies.

Natan Obed, the leader of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami delegation during the spring visit, raised the issue of an Inuit kayak in the collection featured in a 2021 Globe and Mail article. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Obed said the museum head, Rev. Nicola Mapelli, was open to discussing its return.

Bruni did not exclude the possibility that Francis might repatriate some items during his upcoming trip. There are international standards guiding the issue of returning Indigenous cultural property, as well as individual museum policies.

According to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, for example, nations must provide redress to Indigenous peoples for cultural, religious, and spiritual property taken without their free, prior, and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions, and customs. It’s possible Indigenous peoples gave their handiworks to Catholic missionaries for 1925 fair or that they bought them from them.

Given the power imbalances in Catholic missions and the government’s policy of eliminating Indigenous traditions, which the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission called “cultural genocide,” historians question whether the items could have been offered freely.

Gloria Bell, an assistant professor in McGill University’s art history and communication studies department and fellow at the American Academy in Rome agreed. “Using the term gift just ignores the whole history,” said Bell, who is of Metis ancestry and is writing a book about the 1925 exhibition. It is important to question how these cultural belongings came to the Vatican, as well as their relationship to Indigenous communities today.

Indigenous items were first sent to Pope Innocent XII in 1692, and the Holy See’s collection has grown over the years through gifts to popes, especially on foreign trips. According to the Vatican, 40,000 of the 100,000 items originally sent for the 1925 exhibit have been kept. The government has repatriated some items. An Amazonian shrunken head used in rituals by the Jivaroan peoples was recently returned to Ecuador by the Anima Mundi in 2021, according to Vatican News.

A request for an interview or comment was repeatedly declined by the Vatican Museums. A 2015 catalog of the Church’sChurch’s Americas holdings said they demonstrated the Church’sChurch’s appreciation of world cultures and commitment to preserving their arts and artifacts as evident in the pieces’ excellent condition.

Additionally, the catalog indicated the museum welcomes dialogue with Indigenous peoples, and it had collaborated with Aboriginal communities in Australia before a 2010 exhibit. Mapelli, a missionary priest and an associate visited the communities, recorded video testimonies, and traveled the world in search of more information.

Francis opened the revamped Anima Mundi gallery space in 2019 with artifacts from Oceania as well as a temporary Amazon exhibit, noting that some items had recently been loaned to China and that the collection invites us to live human fraternity in contrast to racism, nationalism, and rancor.

Francis praised the museum’s transparency, noting the glass partitions separating storage areas upstairs from restorers’ workstations on the main floor. “Transparency is an important value, especially in an ecclesiastical institution.”

Neither the tours nor the audio guide feature descriptions of the gallery, which is absent from descriptions of two dozen museums and galleries. Because there is no explanatory signage on display cases or wall text panels, private guides rarely take visitors there.

According to Margo Neale, head of the Centre for Indigenous pieces of knowledge at the Australian National Museum, who curated the Vatican’s 2010 Aboriginal exhibition: “They are not being given the respect they deserve by being named in any way.” While they are beautifully displayed, their cultural significance is diminished by their lack of acknowledgment of anything other than their exotic otherness.

Experts say museums and governments in places such as Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium are grappling with how to legally transfer their colonial and postcolonial collections.

Despite some exceptions, the trend toward repatriation is increasing – recently, Germany and France announced plans to return pieces of the famed Benin Bronzes to Nigeria. The willingness to return objects, archives and ancestral remains is growing in a number of European countries,” said Jos van Beurden, who runs a group email list and a Facebook group, Restitution Matters.

Indigenous communities in Canada have been empowered to reclaim their cultural heritage through a handbook created by the Royal British Columbia Museum. Gregory Scofield has amassed a community collection of about 100 items of Metis beadwork, embroidery, and other workmanship dating from 1840 to 1910 through online auctions and travel.

As a Metis poet and author of “Our Grandmother’s Hands: Repatriating Metis Material Art,” Scofield said any discussion with the Vatican Museums should focus on granting Indigenous scholars full access to the collection. In his words, “These pieces hold our stories.”. In his words, “These pieces hold our history.”. In his words, “These pieces hold the energy of those ancestral grandmothers.”

edited and proofread by nikita sharma


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