Marburg virus and Marburg disease 23rd February 2023 – Tags: , ,

In July 2022, there were two new cases of Marburg virus infection in Ghana. The WHO said the risk of spreading the disease is high at the national level but low at the global level. However, there is the potential for this virus to appear in other areas of the world due to increased travel around West Africa. How can we contract this virus and how can we detect it in ourselves? We will find out about this below in the article.

What is Marburg virus?

Marburg virus belongs to the Filovirus family. It is an RNA virus. It is a zoonotic virus, so people can become infected through contact with animals. It is similar in structure and action to the Ebola virus. Its natural reservoir is the African fruit bat. It was first discovered in 1967, when an epidemic developed in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, and Belgrade, Serbia. The cause of the outbreak was contact with laboratory animals infected with the virus. Incubation of the virus usually lasts from 2 to 21 days.

Marburg disease
Marburg disease

Marburg disease

Is a rare viral disease that causes serious risks to the body, such as haemorrhagic fever. The mechanism of animal transmission of this virus is not known, but the most common route of infection is through contact with faeces or odours produced by bats. The next route of transmission is through human contact. The virus can be contracted through contact with blood or other body secretions, objects contaminated with bodily fluids from the sick person, and sexual contact with the sick person. Many outbreaks have started with infected miners working in mines where bats have taken up residence.

Ways to protect yourself against Marburg virus infection
Ways to protect yourself against Marburg virus infection

Symptoms of the disease:

Approximately 21 days after infection, the first symptoms of the disease begin to appear, which include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain

After a further five days, further symptoms appear:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Sore throat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea

The most serious symptoms of the disease are:

  • Jaundice
  • Pancreatitis
  • Severe weight loss
  • Delirium
  • Shock
  • Liver failure
  • Massive haemorrhage and multi-organ dysfunction

Detection and diagnosis

Unfortunately, no vaccine for Marburg virus has been developed to date. The disease has a mortality rate of 23 to 90 per cent. The diagnosis itself is difficult, as many of the previously mentioned symptoms also appear with other infectious diseases such as malaria. If a patient shows symptoms of the disease and has been exposed to the virus, it must be isolated and samples taken for testing to demonstrate the presence of the virus. The virus is usually detected using ELISA and PCR. Virus isolation can also be performed, although this should be done in secure laboratories.

Treatment and prevention

At the moment, there is no specific treatment for the disease. Animal studies are currently being conducted to obtain a treatment. The most important thing at present is prevention against this virus. Preventive measures include: isolation of the potentially ill person, suitably protective clothing when coming into contact with the sick person, use of sterile medical instruments.


  1. CDC
  2. Gentaur
  3. Marburg-virus