Marburg Virus

Caused by filovirus

What is Marburg Virus?

Marburg Virus is an acute, often fatal form of hemorrhagic fever which affects both human and nonhuman primates. 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). Marburg is an enveloped, single-stranded, unsegmented, negative-sense RNA virus. It has the same structure, can appear shaped like a U, a 6, spiraled like a snail, and can sometimes be branched.

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Transmission of Smallpox

Transmission is mainly human-to-human, resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons. Burial ceremonies where mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased can play a significant role in the transmission of Marburg. Transmission to health-care workers has been reported while treating Marburg patients, through close contact without the use of correct infection control precautions. Transmission via contaminated injection equipment or through needle-stick injuries is associated with more severe disease, rapid deterioration, and, possibly, a higher fatality rate.

Symptoms, Treatments, and Precautions

Illness caused by Marburg virus begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache and severe malaise. Muscle aches and pains can occur and severe watery diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, nausea and vomiting can begin on the third day. Diarrhea can persist for a week. The appearance of patients at this phase has been described as showing “ghost-like” drawn features, deep-set eyes, and expressionless faces. Severe cases require intensive supportive care, as patients are frequently in need of intravenous fluids or oral rehydration with solutions containing electrolytes. No specific treatment or vaccine is yet available for Marburg Virus. Several vaccine candidates are being tested but it could be several years before any are available. New drug therapies have shown promising results in laboratory studies and are currently being evaluated. Since there is no known vaccine, many are at danger for getting the virus, everyone needs to be aware, and take protective measures to reduce human exposure to the virus.

Distribution / Occurrence

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). A total of 37 people became ill. They included laboratory workers, several medical personnel, and family members who had cared for them. The first people infected by the virus had been exposed to African green monkeys or their tissues. In Marburg, the monkeys had been imported for research and to prepare polio vaccine. Marburg virus is indigenous to Africa. Marburg virus can affect humans of any age, ethnicity, and gender. It affects humans and nonhuman primates.

Prognosis

There is no actual vaccine for the virus, but there has been use of medical attention that has slowed the rate of death from the virus. The case-fatality rate for Marburg hemorrhagic fever is between 23-25%. Everyone needs to be aware of the risks and understand that there isn't a vaccine. There are cases of people surviving, but their recovery is long and slow.

BY: ANEENA PUTHENPURA