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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 17:24 EDT

Marburg virus

Marburg virus, or Marburg, is the standard name for the genus of viruses Marburgvirus which contains the species, Lake Victoria Marburgvirus. It causes Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever (MHF) which originated with primates. It originated in Africa and can infect humans and primates. It is in the same taxonomic family as Ebola and both are identical structurally although they elicit different antibodies. It was named after the location of the first outbreak in Marburg, Germany in 1967.

The Egyptian fruit bat is believed to be the natural reservoir of Marburg. It is spread through bodily fluids such as blood, excrement, saliva, sperm, and vomit. Early symptoms are non-specific and occur after a three to nine day incubation period. Maculopapular rash is often present on the torso after five days. Later stages are more acute and can include jaundice, pancreatitis, weight loss, delirium, hemorrhaging, shock, and multi-organ dysfunction. Symptoms usually last one to three weeks until the disease resolves or kills the host. The fatality rate ranges from 23% to 90%. Due to this caregivers need barrier infection control measures including double gloves, impermeable gowns, eye protection, and leg and shoe coverings. It is a bio-safety level four agent.

There are some research groups working on drugs and vaccines for the virus. In 2002 a vaccine was produced that protected animals from Marburg.

Diagnosis is similar to Ebola by using Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay tests. If a host survives recovery is usually quick. The first outbreak in Germany was traced to African grivets.

Marburg virus