What you need to know about the Marburg virus
Updated: Apr 14
Marburg virus disease is highly virulent and causes haemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88%. It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola virus disease. Illness caused by the Marburg virus begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache and severe malaise. Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic symptoms within seven days. 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.
The virus is transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals, such as fruit bats and monkeys, or through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected individuals, including blood, vomit, and faeces. The virus can also be transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces or materials, such as needles or medical equipment.
Symptoms of Marburg virus disease typically begin abruptly within 5 to 10 days after infection and include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and vomiting. These symptoms can progress to severe hemorrhagic fever, characterized by internal bleeding and organ failure. There is no specific treatment for Marburg virus disease, and supportive care, such as intravenous fluids and pain relief, is the mainstay of treatment.
Preventing infection with the Marburg virus involves avoiding contact with infected animals and avoiding contact with the bodily fluids of infected individuals. Healthcare workers and others who may be at risk of exposure to the virus should take appropriate precautions, such as wearing personal protective equipment and following strict infection control procedures.
There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus. However, supportive care – rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids – and treatment of specific symptoms, improve survival.
In summary, the Marburg virus is a highly infectious virus that can cause severe hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates. Prevention and control efforts are focused on avoiding contact with infected animals and infected individuals, as well as implementing appropriate infection control procedures.