At least nine people have died in Equatorial Guinea from the "outbreak" of the Marburg virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever and is similar to the 'Ebola' disease, World Health Organization (WHO) said.

In a press statement, WHO said that Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first-ever outbreak on Monday (local time) after the nine people's samples turned out positive for the Marburg virus disease.

Sixteen suspected cases with symptoms, including fever, fatigue and blood-stained vomit and diarrhoea have also been reported, the statement added.

WHO is also facilitating the shipment of laboratory glove tents for sample testing as well as one viral hemorrhagic fever kit that includes personal protective equipment that can be used by 500 health workers.

"Marburg is highly infectious. Thanks to the rapid and decisive action by the Equatorial Guinean authorities in confirming the disease, emergency response can get to full steam quickly so that we save lives and halt the virus as soon as possible

The virus is transmitted to people from fruit bats and spreads among humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces, and materials.

Health minister of Equatorial Guinea Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba said that the country had “declared today (February 14) the health alert for a Marburg hemorrhagic fever in the province of Kie-Ntem and the (neighbouring) district of Mongomo”,

Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88 percent. It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola virus disease.