Recently, a Marburg virus disease outbreak was declared in south-western Guinea. This was the same area in which the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease occurred and only weeks after the end of the Ebola outbreak was declared.
What is Marburg virus?
- Marburg virus belongs to the same family as the Ebola viruses (Filoviridae).
- It causes sporadic, but often fatal disease in humans and non-human primates.
- Host: Studies implicate the Egyptian rousette bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus (Pteropodidae family), as the prime reservoir host.
- Incubation: The incubation period varies from 2 to 21 days.
- Symptoms: Symptoms include fever, malaise, body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and internal haemorrhaging (bleeding).
- The first recognised outbreak of Marburg virus disease in Africa occurred in 1975 in South Africa.
- The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, bodily secretions and/or tissues of infected persons or wild animals, for example monkeys and bats.
- It can also be transmitted through contact with surfaces and materials like bedding or clothing contaminated with these fluids.
- There is no specific antiviral treatment or preventative vaccine.
- Supportive care includes intravenous fluids, replacement of electrolytes, supplemental oxygen, and replacement of blood and blood products may significantly improve the clinical outcome.
- Marburg virus can spread easily between people if appropriate preventive measures are not in place.
- These include personal protection, barriers nursing, safe management of funerals, case finding, contact tracing, isolation and treatment of patient.