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Internal Medicine

Marburg Virus

What is the Marburg Virus? How is it spread? What are the causes?

Marburg Virus

This article provides official information from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the UN (United Nations Organization) on the Marburg virus.

Marburg's virus (MVD) is a rare condition that causes severe hemorrhagic fever. It consists of an RNA virus transmitted by animals (zoonotic). The Ebola virus is part of the same family as this virus.

The first time it was recognized was in 1967 in Marburg and Frankfurt.

At the beginning of July 2022, in Ghana, the first two cases of this virus as deadly and dangerous as Ebola were registered, according to what the WHO comments, and very similar in terms of its symptoms.

"The health authorities have responded quickly, anticipating the preparation of a possible outbreak. This is good because, without immediate and decisive action, Marburg can easily get out of hand," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director in Africa.



How is the Marburg virus spread?

Transmission is usually from person to person:

  • By direct contact with blood, or body fluids with people already infected

  • By contact with objects or surfaces already contaminated with these fluids (clothing, medical instruments, needles)

  • By sexual contact (via semen) with someone already infected


But it can also be transmitted through contact with fluids or excrement from certain infected animals, such as bats in caves.



Symptoms of the Marburg virus

The period of infection and appearance of the first symptoms is between 2 and 21 days.


The most common symptoms are:

  • High fever

  • Headache

  • Fainting

  • Chills


From the third to the fifth day, the symptoms are usually:

  • Abdominal cramps

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Rashes (chest, back and stomach)

  • Diarrhea

  • Pancreas inflammation

  • Bleeding

  • Liver failure



How is Marburg virus diagnosed?

The clinical diagnosis can be very complicated, since the symptoms are similar to those of other infectious diseases.


If a person has any of the symptoms of MVD and has possibly been exposed to the virus, they should immediately isolate themselves and notify their doctor, who will collect certain samples for testing to confirm infection



Marburg's virus prevention

The measures are not yet well-defined and are still under investigation. But what can be prevented is secondary transmission, from person to person:

  • Avoid contact with an infected person

  • Avoid contact with the objects of an infected person

  • Wear protective clothing, face covering, protective mask, and gloves if caring for or caring for a Marburg virus patient




There is still no treatment or vaccine against this virus, so the person must immediately go to Intensive Care to avoid complications.


We will keep an eye on any other information that the health authorities provide us.

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Photo Credit: Content Providers(s): CDC/ Dr. Erskine Palmer, Russell Regnery, Ph.D. - This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library (PHIL)