Officials in Guinea have confirmed the first case of a virus disease called Marburg. It is the first case of the deadly illness in West Africa, the World Health Organization said.

"The potential for the Marburg virus to spread far and wide means we need to stop it in its tracks," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Guinean officials identified the case in the southern Gueckedou prefecture, said the WHO statement.

"This is the first time Marburg, a highly infectious disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, has been identified in the country, and in West Africa," it added.

The disease falls into the same family as the virus that causes Ebola, another deadly and highly infectious disease.

Guinea's discovery comes just two months after the WHO declared an end to the country's second outbreak of Ebola, which started last year and claimed 12 lives.

Scientists in the West African nation of Sierra Leone found live bats infected with Marburg in 2018, but no cases were confirmed in humans. The African fruit bat is the reservoir host of the virus.

There have been 12 major Marburg outbreaks since 1967, most in the south and east of Africa, as well as in Europe.