Marburg virus disease is an endemic disease in Africa (likely in African green monkeys and certain bats) and can be transmitted to man. The Marburg virus disease can be transferred from one person to another simply by exposure to blood and other bodily secretions.
The Marburg virus disease is caused by viruses that produce symptoms of fever, chills, headaches and muscle aches early in the disease; symptoms worsen and may lead to hemorrhagic fever and death.
What causes Marburg disease?
Research has it that Marburg and Ebola viruses are considered to be zoonotic infections (transmitted to humans from life cycles in other animals). However, it hasn’t been proven as to which animals contain both Marburg and Ebola. It is assumed that both disease may be transmitted to humans from monkeys and/or bats (African fruit bat and Rousettus bat).
There is no evidence for any insect vectors yet. Although it is not clear how humans contract these viruses from other animals (perhaps it could be by eating them or by contamination of animal body fluids), it is clear that human-to-human transfer occurs by direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids (for example, saliva, tears, excretions, vomitus, and blood).
The diagnosis of Marburg virus disease is usually done by specialized laboratories. Treatment is limited to supportive care, usually in an intensive-care unit. Specialists that may be consulted include critical-care specialists, infectious-disease specialists, hematologists, lung specialists, and others.
Prevention of Marburg viral disease involves avoiding contact with African animals that may carry the disease and using strict isolation procedures to avoid any bodily fluids or tissues from humans infected with Marburg viruses. The prognosis for Marburg virus disease is only fair to poor; fatality rates vary from about 23%-90%.
Complications of Marburg virus infections include eye, nerve, and bleeding problems. Research is ongoing; Africa is experiencing more problems with viral diseases as humans increase their contact with African animals that previously had little contact with humans.
The symptoms of Marburg virus infection usually come on suddenly after an incubation period of about five to 10 days. Early symptoms are as follows:
About five days after the symptoms first occur, other symptoms may occur as follows:
A rash occurs on the chest, back, and stomach in some individuals.
Diarrhea may appear.
Symptoms continue and can become severe; they include the following:
Severe weight loss
Massive hemorrhaging with organ dysfunction.
The case fatality rate (death rate) ranges from about 23%-90% of infected individuals. Many of the symptoms are similar to those of other infectious diseases such as Ebola, malaria, typhoid fever, and others; so diagnostic tests are useful to rule out other causes of the symptoms.
People exposed to Marburg virus usually show signs of infection no later than about 14 days after exposure, but because the clinical symptoms resemble Ebola virus disease, most people are placed in isolation for 21 days.