What is Marburg Virus Disease? A Detailed Guide.

Marburg Virus Disease

What is Marburg Virus Disease?

Marburg virus disease is a viral hemorrhagic fever in humans and the Marburg virus is the cause for the same. Marburg virus belongs to the same family as Ebola Virus. This is a fatal health condition with a fatality rate ranging from 23 to 90% as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recently in 2022, the outbreak of the Marburg virus occurred in Ghana, which is the first in the Country as declared by the Ghana Ministry of Health. The point of concern here is that no treatment is available for the condition. Although, the research is still in the process to find an effective treatment for the condition. Let us have a detailed insight into this.

Marburg Virus

What is the Marburg Virus Mode of Transmission?

As per the studies, the virus initially did spread to humans who worked for long in mines and/or caves that are inhabited by the colonies of Rousettus bat, also known as fruit bats. Now, this virus can spread from one person to another via direct contact with body fluids, air droplets, and contaminated clothing or surface. Healthcare workers are at high risk of infection while treating people with MVD.

According to the reports, the first case of MVD was detected in Germany in 1967. The virus infected a laboratory staff in Marburg. A monkey brought from Uganda for studies to the lab infected the laboratory personnel. Eastern and southern Africa have the most outbreaks.

What Are the Symptoms of Marburg Virus Disease?

The incubation period of this virus ranges from 2 to 21 days. This is the period when a disease shows symptoms after infecting the body.  

Sudden onset of symptoms occur in the case of MVD. In the early stages, high fever followed by severe headache and severe malaise may occur. Along with all this, the pain and muscle aches are a few of the common symptoms.

After a third of the infection, the person may experience severe watery diarrhea that may last for a week. Along with this, abdominal pain & cramps, nausea, and vomiting begin. Besides all this, a maculopapular rash may generally begin around the 5th day of onset of symptoms. As the disease progresses, severe symptoms like jaundice, pancreatic inflammation, liver failure, delirium, multi-organ dysfunction, and severe hemorrhaging may occur.

In fatal cases, the death generally occurs between 8 and 9 days after the onset of symptoms.

What is the Diagnosis of Marburg Virus Disease?

With symptoms similar to other infectious conditions like malaria, meningitis, shigellosis, and typhoid fever, it can be difficult to diagnose MVD early.

Diagnostic tests that can confirm the occurrence of MVD include:

  • Antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • Isolation of virus by cell culture
  • RT-PCR
  • Electron microscopy
  • Serum neutralization test
  • Antigen-capture detection tests

Note – You must know, that the sample collection for MVD studies require special care. Besides that, their transportation should be done in triple packaging systems as they can be highly contagious.

What is the Treatment for Marburg Virus Disease?

As of now, no approved treatment in the form of medicines or vaccines is available for Marburg virus disease. To improve survival rates, symptomatic treatment is provided to maintain fluid and electrolyte levels, oxygen levels, and blood pressure along with the treatment for other complicated symptoms. Above all, research is still going on to find an effective treatment for the disease. We may find a suitable treatment for MVD soon.

Also Read about West Nile Fever.


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