Marburg Virus Facts

Marburg Virus Facts
The Marburg virus is a type of hemorrhagic fever virus of the Filoviridae virus family. Marburg virus causes Marburg virus disease in both primates and in humans. It is considered a very dangerous virus and is ranked as a Risk Group 4 Pathogen by the World Health Organization. Although rare, Marburg virus results in a severely fatal disease that causes a very high number of deaths when an outbreak occurs. When a person is infected with the Marburg virus the onset of symptoms is rapid - usually within 2 to 21 days. Hemorrhagic bleeding becomes severe between five and seven days and at this point and fatality rates reach between 25% to over 80% in some outbreaks.
Interesting Marburg Virus Facts:
Marburg virus was brought to the world's attention in 1967 when small outbreaks occurred in Marburg and Frankfurt, in Germany. It also occurred in Belgrade - the capital of the former country of Yugoslavia.
The first outbreaks in Germany occurred after German workers handled the tissue of grivet monkeys that had been infected with the virus. 31 people contracted Marburg virus disease as a result of these first outbreaks. Seven people died.
The first symptoms of Marburg virus disease include a severe feeling of being ill and the onset of serious headaches. It is also common to experience muscle aches, muscle pain, diarrhea, cramps, and vomiting.
As the virus works through the body it also causes people to look like they have very deep set eyes with very little expression in their face. They also tend to become very lethargic. In some outbreaks an itchy rash also occurs.
When Marburg virus disease results in fatality it is usually because of bleeding, and the resulting shock, which can occur from multiple sites of the body. Most people that die from Marburg virus disease do so around 8 or 9 days after the symptoms begin.
Marburg virus is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood, and the tissue of an infected person, as well as through the improper handling of dead or ill animals that carry the virus.
Monkeys and fruit bats are common carriers of Marburg virus and animal to human transmission usually occurs through this.
Treatment for the Marburg virus usually includes supportive therapy. This can include oral rehydration, and intravenous fluids.
Marburg virus has two strains including A and B.
Marburg A strain was the cause of the 1967 Uganda outbreak, the Kenya outbreak in 1980, and the Angola outbreak in 2004-2005.
Marburg B strain was the cause of the 1999-2000 Democratic Republic of the Congo epidemic and the isolated outbreaks in Uganda between 2007 and 2009.
There is no vaccine or antiviral cure for Marburg virus.
It is possible to reduce the risk of contracting the Marburg virus including limiting the exposure of pigs in Africa to fruit bats, which are natural carriers. Avoiding caves inhabited by fruit bats can also reduce risk of exposure.
Once someone is infected, proper precautions must be taken to avoid coming into contact with their bodily fluids and blood.

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