A video viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook warns that a small outbreak of the Marburg virus in Guinea, West Africa is actually a result of vaccinations against Covid-19.
But this is false, and the Marburg outbreak has nothing to do with Covid-19.
We explore what Marburg virus is, where it’s been detected, and how it differs from Covid-19.
False claims by unidentified ‘whistleblower’
The video begins with a clip from an August 2021 news segment about the first confirmed death due to Marburg virus disease (or MVD) in Guinea. The video then claims that “We are moving to the next phase of the Global ‘Pandemic’”.
An unnamed man with an Irish accent, only identified as a “whistleblower healthcare professional”, then says that vaccines against Covid-19 will cause deaths that appear to be caused by MVD and will be falsely declared a Marburg “pandemic”.
But this is inaccurate on a number of counts.
Marburg virus disease very different to Covid-19, and not found in countries with high Covid vaccination rates
MVD is an infectious disease caused by the Marburg virus. First discovered in 1967, the virus infects humans and other primates, but is also spread by Egyptian rousette bats.
Marburg is most commonly found in East Africa, and the August 2021 case represents not only the first confirmed case of MVD in Guinea, but the first in West Africa.
MVD initially causes fever, chills, and headaches, but symptoms slowly become more severe and include a rash, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and shock. Eventually liver failure, bleeding and multi-organ dysfunction sets in.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that MVD can be difficult to diagnose as its symptoms are easily confused with other diseases like malaria and Ebola.
Guinea Marburg outbreak small, local, and not declared a pandemic
A man in the West African country died on 2 August after first developing symptoms of MVD on 25 July.
No other cases of the disease were found, though 172 people who had been in contact with the man were closely monitored for 21 days. This included 14 people who had been identified as being at high risk of contracting the disease.
The outbreak was declared officially over 42 days after the man’s death, twice as long as it would take to develop symptoms after contracting MVD.
Series of tests confirmed Marburg diagnosis
The Guinean case initially tested negative for malaria. Following this, he was tested a total of three times for Marburg and twice for Ebola by laboratories in Guinea and neighbouring Senegal.
These laboratory confirmations made it clear that his disease was caused by Marburg virus. Marburg is a filovirus, not a coronavirus like the one that causes Covid-19.
Covid-19 has very different symptoms to MVD – the most common are fever, tiredness and dry cough. Covid-19 vaccines often cause side effects, but these are typically very mild, and last no longer than a few days.
Covid-19 vaccines linked to extremely rare blood clots
Some studies have found that Covid-19 vaccines may be linked to extremely rare but potentially dangerous blood clots. The man in the Facebook video mentions this but this rare side effect of the vaccine does not involve hemorrhaging, or excessive bleeding, which is associated with MVD and other hemorrhagic diseases.
The vaccines have also not been found to present a serious risk of death or injury. A number of international health bodies, including the European Medicines Agency, declared the vaccines safe for use after investigating the risks.
No incidence of Marburg in countries with high vaccination rates
If the side effects of Covid-19 vaccines could be easily mistaken for MVD, it is extremely unlikely that this would have been misidentified in Guinea, and not in a country with higher rates of vaccination against Covid-19.
As of 4 December 2021, months after the single MVD case, just under a million people in Guinea, around 7% of the population, had been fully vaccinated.
In comparison, Canada had vaccinated nearly 29 million people, accounting for just over three quarters of its population.
Canada and other countries with highly vaccinated populations have not experienced outbreaks of MVD.
There is no evidence that the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccines are being hushed up under false rumours of a Marburg pandemic. And the symptoms of MVD and the reported side effects of Covid-19 vaccines are very different.
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