Marburg Virus In Africa: 7 Unusual Symptoms of This Ebola-Like Virus You Must Know

Amid the fears of a 5th wave of COVID-19 in India, following the rise of another contagious strain XBB.1.16, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned the countries to remain cautious against the spread of the ‘highly virulent’ Marburg Virus. According to the latest report, Equatorial Guinea in the African continent has confirmed 8 new cases of the Mraburg virus, taking the country’s total tally to 9. Marburg virus causes deadly hemorrhagic fever which doesn’t have any authorised vaccine or treatment. What is this virus? How does it affect your body? Who is at risk? Should Indians worry too? Let’s find out!

What Is Marburg Virus?

Marburg virus disease (MVD), which is also known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. It is a causative agent of the Marburg virus disease (MVD) whose fatality ratio can go up to 88%.

The history of the Marburg virus dates back to 1967 when it was first detected in Marburg and Germany. Marburg and Ebola viruses are both members of the Filoviridae family (filovirus). Though caused by two different viruses, both Ebola and Marburg virus diseases are clinically similar. Both of them are rare in nature and have the capacity to cause outbreaks with high fatality rates.

How Does Marburg Virus Spread?

The transmission process of the Marburg virus is also similar to the Ebola virus. The infection mainly spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of the infected patient. The virus can also survive on the surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contacted by the infected patient.

Symptoms of Marburg Virus Disease

As discussed above, the virus is spreading rapidly. Earlier last week, Tanzania had reported 5 fresh cases of the virus and now Africa has confirmed 8 new infections. It is therefore important that one understands the signs and symptoms associated with the Marburg virus disease. As per the experts, the incubation period (interval from infection to onset of symptoms) of the Marburg virus infection can range between 2 to 21 days. Some of the initial signs can include:

High fever
Severe headache
Severe malaise
Muscle aches and pains
Severe watery diarrhoea
Abdominal pain and cramping
Nausea and vomiting

These symptoms can persist for a week. Many patients can also develop severe haemorrhagic manifestations between 5 and 7 days (rare cases of the disease), and fatal cases usually have some form of abnormal bleeding that can often come from multiple areas of the body, such as –

Blood in faeces
Blood in Vomit
Bleeding from the nose, gums and vagina

If we talk about India, as of now experts believe there is no need to panic or worry about the Marburg outbreak in the country. However, proper precautions should always be taken to avert any natural health complications.

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