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What Is Marburg Virus & How to Prevent Its Spread?

What Is Marburg Virus & How to Prevent Its Spread?

At least 2 people died due to an infection from Marburg Virus in Ghana and 98 others have been quarantined.

There has been dangers of mass outbreak of this virus which is highly infectious and causes vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pains, and fever.

In some rare cases, the virus is also responsible to cause death mainly due to extreme blood loss.


What is the Marburg virus?

Marburg virus is also known as hemorrhagic fever virus. It’s also known to be another form of equally dreaded Ebola virus.

It belongs to the Filoviridae family and causes Marburg disease in humans. This virus is mostly considered to be extremely dangerous.

As per World Health Organization (WHO), the virus has been rated as a group 4 pathogen in the United States.

Egyptian Fruitbat

It can be transmitted after an exposure from fruit bats. It can also be transmitted among people through body fluids mainly through broken skin or unprotected sex with an infected person.


More About Marburg Virus

The Marburg virus was first detected after an outbreak in 1967 where 7 people died and 31 others got infected. The virus was spotted in places like Belgrade, Serbia and Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany.

The outbreak was finally traced to some African green monkeys that were imported from Uganda. Since then, the marburg virus is linked with some other animals. It means the source of infection or the virus is not only monkeys but can be some other animals as well.

In humans, the infection due to the marburg virus is spread mostly through people who have spent a long time in mines and caves populated by bats.

Although, it is Ghana’s first outbreak, but a large number of African countries have their presence like:

  • Zimbabwe
  • Uganda
  • South Africa
  • Kenya
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Similarly, there was another outbreak happened in 2005 in Angola that killed as many as 300 people.

But in Europe, one person is reported to have died in the last 40 years. Another one person has lost his life in the US after he returned from expeditions to caves in Uganda.


Also Read: 5 Critical Symptoms of Marburg Virus You Must Know


What Are the Major Outbreaks of the Marburg Virus?

As per the data provided by W.H.O., the major outbreaks due to the malburg virus are given below for a reference:

  • 1967, Germany: 29 cases, 7 died
  • 1998-2000, DR Congo: 154 cases, 128 died
  • 2005, Angola: 374 cases, 329 died
  • 2012, Uganda: 15 cases, four died
  • 2017, Uganda: three cases, three died


What Are the Symptoms Due to the Malburg Virus Infection?

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pains

The above symptoms are often accompanied by some other ones like:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Watery diarrhea

As per WHO, the appearance of patients during this time has been explained as showing symptoms like ‘ghost-like’ drawn features along with extreme lethargy, expressionless faces, and deep-set eyes.

One of the most crucial phases is that many people start bleeding from various body parts and loss their lives after 8-10 days of showing the first symptom. It happens due to extreme blood loss and shock.

The data shows that on average, the marburg virus kills at least half of those infected. As per WHO, the most dreaded strain has killed up to 88% infected people.


How it spreads?

In the study, researchers have analyzed that the Egyptian rosette fruit bat often harbors the virus.

Some other animals like pigs and green monkeys are also known to carry it.

Another crucial point to be noted here is that even if people get recover, they can still infect other people through their blood or semen for many months afterwards.


Are There Any Treatment Options?

Unfortunately, there is no specific vaccine or treatment available for the virus.

But according to WHO, a number of effective immune therapies, drugs and blood products are being developed to combat the infection.

In some other cases, medical experts are known to alleviate the symptoms to patients by giving them enough fluids and replacing their lost blood.


How It Can Be Contained?

As per Gavi, an international organization promoting vaccine says people need to avoid handling or eating bush meat. They should also avoid contact with pigs in specific areas with an outbreak, the WHO says.

As a precaution, men who had the virus need to use precaution like condom at least for a year after the onset of symptoms or until they get their semen tests negative.

Also, those burying people died from the virus need to avoid touching the body.


Also Read: How Flu Shots can give Surprising Health Benefits (Besides Preventing Flu)





Source: BBC.com