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After COVID-19, Marburg Viral Disease is the new threat to Global Public Health?

by Fakhar Abbas 4 months ago in health
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What is the Marburg virus? History, Transmission, Diagnosis & Treatment

What is the Marburg virus?

Marburg virus disease (MVD) is a rare but often fatal hemorrhagic fever which affects both human and non-human primates. MVD is caused by the Marburg virus (Figure A), which is a cousin of the equally deadly Ebola virus. The mortality rate for MVD is between 23-90%

History of Human Infection

Two simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany, and in Belgrade, Serbia (Yugoslavia) in 1967, led to the first recognition of the Marburg virus. The first people infected had been associated with work using Ugandan imported African green monkeys. . In 2008, two additional cases were reported in tourists who had visited a cave inhabited by Rousettus bat in Uganda.

Global Scenario of Marburg virus Disease

On 28 June 2022, two viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) cases were notified to health authorities of Ghana and On 1 July, both cases found positive for Marburg viral infection by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Uptil now only two cases of Marburg virus disease have been reported and both are from Ghana. The individuals who contracted the disease were not related and they were from different region of the Ghana. They both died due to severe hemorrhagic fever

Mode of Transmission

After the initial transmission of virus from its host to human, transmission of virus among humans occurs through person-to-person contact. The virus spreads through direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with:

• Blood, bodily secretions (urine, saliva, sweat, semen, breast milk and amniotic fluid) of infected people who is sick with or died from Marburg virus disease

• Contaminated surfaces and materials (e.g clothing, medical equipment) of a person who is sick with or died from Marburg virus disease.

The virus can remain in certain body fluids of a patient even after people have recovered. Their semen or blood, can infect others for many months afterwards Signs and Symptoms after an incubation period of 2 to 21 days, the onset of symptoms is sudden and characterized by fever, headache, chills and myalgia. After the 4th day of onset of symptoms, a maculopapular rash may appear, most prominent on the back, chest and stomach). Vomiting, nausea, chest pain, diarrhea and sore throat may occur. Severe symptoms can include pancreatic inflammation, jaundice, weight loss, liver failure, bleeding from orifices, and multi-organ dysfunction.


Differential diagnosis of Marburg virus disease (MVD) can be challenging. As many of the signs and symptoms of MVD are similar to those of other infectious diseases (typhoid fever, or dengue) or viral hemorrhagic fevers that may be endemic to the region (such as Congo Fever or Ebola).

If a person has early symptoms of MVD and is at a potential exposure to Marburg virus, quarantined the patient and inform to public health professionals. Samples can then be collected from the suspected patient and tested to confirm disease.

Both antigen and antibody capture Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can be used to confirm a case of MVD.. The IgG-antibody detection through ELISA is appropriate for testing persons after recovery later during the course of disease. In dead patients, immunohistochemistry may also be used to diagnose MVD retrospectively.


Currently there is no specific treatment available for Marburg virus disease. It is important to use supportive hospital therapy, which includes the managing patient’s fluids and balancing the electrolytes, maintaining oxygen saturation level and blood pressure, restoring the lost clotting factors and blood, treatment for any secondary infections.

Experimental treatments are validated in trial basis in lab animal’s models but have never been tried in humans.


About the author

Fakhar Abbas

"Thoughts can't be shown but written."

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