Marburg virus causes Marburg Virus Disease (MVD), formerly known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever, a disease with a case-fatality ratio of up to 88%, however, this can be reduced significantly with proper patient care.
The Filoviridae family includes both the Marburg and Ebola viruses (filovirus). Despite the fact that they are caused by distinct viruses, the two diseases are clinically similar. Both illnesses are uncommon and have the potential to generate large-scale outbreaks with substantial death rates.
Here are some key facts about this deadly virus
Marburg virus has been billed as the next big pandemic threat, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) classifying it as ‘epidemic-prone’.
In previous outbreaks, case mortality rates ranged from 24% to 88%, depending on viral strain and case care.
Early supportive care, including rehydration and symptom relief, improves survival, as there is currently no licenced medication that has been demonstrated to neutralise the virus.
Fruit bats are thought to be natural hosts of the Marburg virus.
The virus is delivered to humans by fruit bats and spreads via human-to-human transmission.
MVD cases are uncommon but exceedingly lethal. They are difficult to identify in its early stages from other tropical infections such as Ebola and malaria.
Infected individuals exhibit ‘ghost-like’ characteristics, such as deep-set eyes and expressionless faces. This is generally followed by bleeding from several body parts, such as the nose, gums, eyes, and vagina. The first outbreak occurred in Germany and Serbia in 1967.
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