What is MVD?
Marburg virus disease (MVD) is a rare but severe, often fatal hemorrhagic illness in humans.
MVD is caused by the Marburg virus, an animal-borne virus of the filovirus family. Ebola virus is another member of the filovirus family. Egyptian fruit bats are believed to be the normal carrier of the virus in nature. Bats infected with Marburg virus do not show obvious signs of illness.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of Marburg virus disease come on suddenly, and include fever, chills, headache, and myalgia. Around day 5 of symptoms, a skin rash, most prominent on the trunk, may occur. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, chest pain, sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Between the fifth and seventh day, many patients may experience severe hemorrhagic manifestations, including blood in vomit or stool, along with nosebleeds.
Many symptoms of Marburg are similar to malaria, typhoid fever, Lassa fever or Ebola, which makes it difficult to diagnose.
There are no antiviral treatments approved to treat Marburg virus disease. Supportive hospital therapy should be utilized, which includes balancing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes, maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure, replacing lost blood, and treatment for any complicating infections. The average fatality rate is around 50%, ranging from 24 to 88%.
There is no approved vaccine for Marburg virus disease (MVD); however, several candidate MVD vaccines are in clinical trials.
MVD is a very rare disease in people. However, when it occurs, it has the potential to spread to other people, especially healthcare staff and family members who care for the patient. The transmission of virus from animals to people remains an area of ongoing research.
Avoiding fruit bats, and sick non-human primates is one way to protect against infection. If a patient is either suspected or confirmed to have MVD, infection prevention and control measures should be used to prevent direct physical contact with the patient. These precautions include wearing gowns, gloves, and masks and placing the infected individual in strict isolation.
Advice for travelers
Avoid visiting mines or bat caves in countries where MVD has been reported. In addition, avoid contact with all wild animals; alive or dead, particularly bats.
Countries reporting outbreaks of Marburg disease.
• DR Congo
• Equatorial Guinea
• South Africa
Credit: WHO.int and CDC.gov