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Marburg Virus Disease : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prognosis

What is Marburg Virus and MVD?

Marburg virus is an extremely dangerous virus that causes the Marburg Virus Disease or MVD, which was earlier known as Marburg hemorrhagic fever. The Marburg virus belongs to the same family as the Ebola virus and is also similar to the Ebola virus.

An article in 2012 was published in the journal “Viruses” that showed that the first reported filovirus hemorrhagic fever outbreak occurred in Germany and Yugoslavia( then) in 1967.(1)

There comes news from Ghana in Africa that two cases of the Marburg virus, similar to Ebola have been reported.(2)

What is Marburg Virus and MVD?

Marburg virus causes Marburg Virus Disease or MVD where the affected person quickly begins to develop fever and severe illness and it can even result in shock or death.

Symptoms Of Marburg Virus Disease Or MVD

Symptoms onset after an incubation period of 2-21 days and these symptoms include fever, headache, chills and myalgia.

Around the fifth day of infection, symptoms like a maculopapular rash (prominent on the trunk) might appear.(3) Some other symptoms include abdominal pain, sore throat, and even diarrhea.

It must be noted that if not treated immediately symptoms of MVD might become increasingly severe and can include inflammation of the pancreas, jaundice, delirium, shock, severe loss of weight, liver failure and even multi-organ failure.

Some other possible symptoms of Marburg virus disease could be bleeding through vomit, feces, and also from other body parts.

Causes Of Marburg Virus Disease Or MVD

Rousettus Bats Being The Cause Of Marburg Virus Disease:

Rousettus bats are natural hosts of this virus. Humans generally get the infection or MVD when they are exposed to mines or caves where these bat colonies live, for a long time.

Direct Contact With An Infected Person’s Blood Or Body Fluids:

Marburg virus can spread from an infected person to a healthy one through direct contact with their blood, secretions, or other bodily fluids. Touching the infected person’s clothing or bedding( that might contain the infected fluids) can also spread the MVD.

Healthcare workers who are usually indulged in treating patients with cases of Marburg virus disease, also get infected with the virus.

Cause Of MVD Could Be Through Contaminated Injection Tools:

One more cause of MVD is the transmission that occurs from contaminated injection tools. Such cases generally cause more intense and severe forms of the disease, where the health decline quickly, and there is also a higher risk of death.

How is Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) Diagnosed?

It might be difficult to clinically diagnose Marburg virus disease or MVD since many symptoms of this disease are similar to other infectious diseases like typhoid, malaria, meningitis, and a few other viral fevers that might result in bleeding. However, doctors might confirm MVD by testing the body fluids of the affected person. Some of these tests might include the following.

  • Antigen-capture detection tests
  • Antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or ELISA.
  • Serum neutralization test
  • RT-PCR or Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay.
  • Electron microscopy
  • Isolation of the virus by a cell culture

Treatment For Marburg Virus Disease (MVD):

There is no particular treatment method for Marburg virus disease at present. No antiviral treatment or vaccine is available for MVD. However, most patients would require IV or intravenous fluids, supplemental oxygen, replacement of electrolytes, and replacement of blood. These all treatment procedures would be categorized as supportive care treatments for the disease. Treatment for MVD basically would include treating specific symptoms through various means.

Since we are putting insight into the treatment for MVD, we should not forget to mention that though there are no approved drug treatments for Marburg virus infection at present, immunotherapeutic treatments or monoclonal antibody therapies are under development currently. Moreover, Antiviral therapies like favipiravir and remdesivier, which have been used in clinical studies for the Ebola virus might also be tested for their use in Marburg virus disease.

Prognosis Of Marburg Virus Disease Or MVD

Marburg virus disease is a severe infectious disease and the case-fatality rate for this disease is between 23% to 90%.(4) The average case fatality rate is around 50%.(5) It should be mentioned that severely sick patients usually die after 8-9 days after the symptoms start appearing.

Final Words

Marburg virus affected a few people in the world, and according to the WHO, two cases of MVD have been identified recently. We should pay keen attention to the symptoms and meet with the healthcare professional to get ourselves diagnosed and get ready for the treatment procedure.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 23, 2022

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