The Marburg virus belongs to the family of the same virus that causes Ebola. Even though this disease is rare, it can cause up to 90% fatality in case of an outbreak. It is an animal-borne RNA virus of the filovirus family. There are 7 other types of viruses including Ebola in the filovirus family.
How Can A Person Be Exposed To The Marburg Virus?
The Marburg virus mainly spreads when a human or primate comes in contact with the African fruit bat. People are generally infected with this virus when they come in contact with bat feces in mines or caves or other areas where these bats are frequently spotted. Even though it is unknown how the bats get infected with this disease, it spreads by human to human contact once a person is infected.
Main Ways In Which The Marburg Virus Can Be Transmitted
- If a person who is infected by the Marburg virus lets his blood or body fluids come in contact with another person, it can spread the virus. The virus can be transmitted through urine, saliva, feces, vomit, sweat amniotic fluid, and even breast milk.
- A person sick with the Marburg virus disease will contaminate anything that comes in close contact with him. These objects, like the bedding of the person, clothes medical equipment, etc., if not sanitized can spread the virus.
- Even after a patient’s recovery from the disease, it can still be present in his body fluids in a dormant state. Semen is a way that the virus can be transmitted from a recovered man. There are no traces of the virus spreading from the vaginal fluids of a woman.
How The Marburg Virus Was Discovered
In 1967 there were two large virus outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany and Belgrade in Serbia. It was the first time that the virus came into recognition. The outbreak occurred due to the laboratory work that included African green monkeys which were imported from Uganda. The virus can travel through primates and humans both, that’s how it spread amidst the people working in the lab.
The First-ever Marburg Virus Case In Guinea
The first case of the Marburg virus disease in Guinea, west Africa was detected in Gueckedou. This is the same region where the 2021 Ebola outbreak in guinea and the 2014-16 west Africa Ebola outbreak started. The person who is affected with the virus reported having an onset of symptoms including fever, headache, fatigue, stomach ache, and gingival hemorrhage on 25 July 2021. On 1st August he sought help from a local health care facility regarding his worsening symptoms.
There were previous outbreaks and scattered cases of the Marburg virus disease in Angola, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, and the democratic republic of Congo. But this was the first-ever reported case of the Marburg virus in guinea and west Africa.
Samples were taken from the now-deceased patient and tested in the Guinea national hemorrhagic fever laboratory. The tests for the Marburg virus turned out to be positive. The health authorities are working tirelessly to detect people who might have come in contact with the virus. They are trying to stop the virus on its tracks from spreading and causing an outbreak in this already virus-ridden world.
As this is the first time the virus has shown up in the country, health care authorities are rapidly spreading awareness via public education to get some help in curbing the impact of the disease. It is only natural that the citizens panic because of the sudden emerging of an unknown virus whose cure is yet to be found. The WHO officials along with local health authorities are volunteering to spread as much awareness as possible.
Although there are no treatments or vaccines available for the Marburg virus yet, scientists are working hard on developing one. For now, rehydration and treating certain symptoms like fever and headache can improve the chances of survival. A range of treatments is still in the process of being developed to help cure and fight the virus.
Symptoms A Person Shows When They Are Infected By The Marburg Virus
According to the best medicine doctors, the incubation period of the virus ranges from 2-21 days. The symptoms start emerging suddenly.
- The symptoms start off with chills, fever, low body temperature, headache, and myalgia.
- After a period of 4-5 days, a maculopapular rash emerges on certain areas like the chest, back, or stomach of the infected person.
- It proceeds with vomiting, nausea, chest pain, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
- If the virus is not detected, the symptoms can get more severe. The patient may suffer from jaundice, inflammation of the pancreas, liver failure, severe weight loss, and even multi-organ failure.
- The virus can lead to death if not diagnosed and treated.
Detecting a case of the Marburg virus is tough. The symptoms it emits are very similar to diseases like typhoid fever, malaria, Ebola, or Lassa fever. It is advised to isolate the patient as soon as the virus is detected to stop further spreading and testing of the virus should be done in a high containment laboratory.
Dr. Amitabha Saha’s Outlook
Dr. Saha is one of the best doctors and indeed the best person of knowledge in Kolkata when it comes to virus outbreaks. To gain more knowledge on the virus outbreak and how to take precautions from it, one can book an appointment with him by searching “best general physician in Kolkata” on Google.