Marburg Virus Disease: What you need to know

Two people were recently recorded to have died from the Marburg virus disease in Ghana and about 90 others are being monitored. Find out what you need to know about this disease and how to stay safe below-

Marburg virus disease (MVD)

Marburg virus disease (MVD) is a rare but severe hemorrhagic fever that can affect both humans and non-human primates. It belongs in the same family as the Ebola Virus Disease. Previous outbreaks of this disease has previously been recorded in other parts of Africa including Uganda, Kenya, Angola, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Angola outbreak of 2005 which has been the deadliest so far killed more than 200 people.

Transmission of MVD

MVD can be transmitted through unprotected contact with the feces of the African fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus). It can also be gotten through inhaling aerosolized forms of the their droppings. It can be spread from human-to-human through:

  1. Direct contact with blood or body fluids (saliva, sweat, urine, feces, vomit, breast milk and semen) of an infected person or a corpse who died from MVD
  2. Direct contact with objects or materials that have been contaminated with body fluid or blood from an infected person or corpse who died from MVD
  3. Sexual intercourse with a man (seminal route) who has been infected or recently just recovered from MVD

Signs and Symptoms of MVD

  1. Abrupt high fever
  2. Severe headache
  3. Weakness
  4. Rash on the chest, back and stomach
  5. Nausea and vomiting
  6. Sore throat
  7. Abdominal pain
  8. Diarrhea

Severe symptoms which begin to occur over time include:

  1. Bleeding from multiple areas
  2. Severe weight loss
  3. Liver failure
  4. Jaundice
  5. Pancreatic inflammation

Prevention of MVD

  1. Avoid exposure to or eating of fruit bats and other forms of bush meat
  2. Avoid direct physical contact with an infected person
  3. Ensure appropriate use of gloves and face masks if coming in contact with any person presenting with the above symptoms

Treatment of MVD

There is no specific treatment for MVD but the following supportive therapy measures should be taken:

  1. Fluid and electrolyte replacement
  2. Blood pressure and oxygen saturation level maintenance
  3. Replacement of lost blood and treatment of infections

Additional information

Diagnosing MVD might be challenging as most of its symptoms are similar to malaria, typhoid or even Ebola and Lassa fever. Protective measures should always be taken to stay safe at all times


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