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About The Marburg Virus Disease


Recently, Five people have died and three others are infected with the Marburg virus  a highly infectious, Ebola-like disease  in Tanzania’s north-west Kagera region.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Marburg virus disease: History
  2. Marburg virus and the disease
  3. Symptoms of Marburg virus disease
  4. What are the hosts for the Marburg virus?
  5. What are the challenges with Marburg virus disease?

Marburg virus disease: History

  • Marburg was discovered in 1967, when outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, as well as Belgrade, Serbia — cases that were linked to African green monkeys imported from Uganda.
  • According to the World Health Organization, additional cases have since been discovered in Angola, Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda.
  • The cases reported in Ghana last month were the country’s first.

Marburg virus and the disease

  • The pathogen that causes Marburg virus disease in humans is the Marburg virus.
  • According to medical experts, there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments for the disease, but hydrating patients and treating their specific symptoms can improve their chances of survival.
  • According to WHO, the disease is clinically similar to Ebola in its spread, symptoms, and progression, despite being caused by a different virus.
  • In the case of Marburg, fruit bats are thought to be the virus’s hosts, though researchers claim the virus does not cause illness in them.

Symptoms of Marburg virus disease

  • Marburg can cause severe viral hemorrhagic fever, which impairs the ability of the blood to clot.
  • According to WHO, the incubation period ranges from two to 21 days, and symptoms begin abruptly with high fever, severe headache, and severe malaise.
  • Other symptoms may include muscle aches, diarrhoea, nausea, lethargy, and bleeding from the mouth, faeces, or other parts of the body.
  • According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Marburg is not contagious during the incubation period. According to WHO, severely ill patients frequently die eight or nine days after the onset of symptoms.
  • “Mortality is extremely high.” And there is no such thing as asymptomatic Marburg
  • According to health organisations, a patient’s condition can be confirmed as Marburg by using antibody, antigen, and polymerase chain reaction tests.

What are the hosts for the Marburg virus?

  • Rousettus fruit bats are thought to be the virus’s natural host.
  • According to WHO, the first human infection was caused by African green monkeys imported from Uganda.
  • It was discovered in 1967, following simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg, Germany, and Belgrade, Serbia.
  • The disease has a 50 percent fatality rate on average.
  • According to the WHO, it can be as low as 24 percent or as high as 88 percent, depending on the virus strain and case management.

What are the challenges with Marburg virus disease?

  • Clinically, MVD is difficult to distinguish from diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever, and other viral hemorrhagic fevers.
  • However, lab testing of samples confirms it, which, like Coronavirus and Ebola, are extreme biohazard risks.
  • There is currently no approved antiviral treatment or vaccine for MVD.
  • It is treatable with supportive care.
  • Rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids, as well as treatment of specific symptoms, can help prevent death, according to the WHO.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024