Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever

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The Marburg virus has an incubation period of 5 to 10 days. Initial symptoms include headaches, fever and chills, which substantially worsen after the fifth day of illness.


Marburg hemorrhagic fever (Marburg HF) is a rare but severe hemorrhagic fever which affects both humans and non-human primates. Marburg HF is caused by Marburg virus, a genetically unique zoonotic (or, animal-borne) RNA virus of the filovirus family.Marburg virus was first recognized in 1967, when outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). Thirty-one people became ill, initially laboratory workers followed by several medical personnel and family members who had cared for them. Seven deaths were reported. The first people infected had been exposed to imported African green monkeys or their tissues while conducting research.


Illness caused by Marburg virus begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache and severe malaise. Muscle aches and pains are a common feature. Severe watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain and cramping, nausea and vomiting can begin on the third day. Diarrhoea can persist for a week. The appearance of patients at this phase has been described as showing “ghost-like” drawn features, deep-set eyes, expressionless faces, and extreme lethargy.


Transmission is mainly human-to-human, resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons.


Group:Group V ((-)ssRNA)




Species:Marburg marburgvirus


Marburg virus disease outbreaks

YearCountryVirusHuman casesHuman deathsCase fatality rate

1967 West Germany

South AfricaMARV3133%

1980 KenyaMARV2150%

1987 KenyaRAVV11100%

1988 Soviet UnionMARV11100%

1990 Soviet UnionMARV100%

1998–2000 Democratic Republic of the CongoMARV & RAVV15412883%

2004–2005 AngolaMARV25222790%

2007 UgandaMARV & RAVV4125%

2008 Uganda
United StatesMARV2150%

2012 UgandaMARV18950%

2014 UgandaMARV11100%

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