Marburg Virus – Reservoir, Mode of transmission, Incubation Period, Symptom, Laboratory Diagnosis, Treatment


Marburg Virus

  • It is an another emerging zoonotic infectious disease that causes great concern.
  • It belongs to Filoviridae family.
  • It is formerly known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever (MHF).
  • The rare virus was first identified in 1967 after it caused simultaneous outbreaks of disease in laboratories in Marburg, Germany and Belgrade, Serbia.
  • Seven people died who were exposed to the virus while conducting research on monkeys.
  • MHF is characterized by systemic viral replication, immunosuppression and abnormal inflammatory responses.
  • Without treatment, Marburg can be fatal in up to 88% of people.
  • It contain RNA as the genetic material.
  • It is a Biosafety level 4 pathogen.
  • First outbreak occurred in 1967 in Germany.
  • They are pleomorphic in shape.


  • Rousettus aegyptiacus African fruit bats
  • Fruit bats infected with Marburg virus do not show obvious signs of illness.
  • Primates (including people) can become infected with Marburg virus, and may develop serious disease with high mortality.
  • Further study is needed to determine if other species may also host the virus.

Mode of transmission

  • Direct contact with infected bats, persons or their body fluids.
  • Consumption of fruits contaminated with saliva or urine of infected bats.
  • Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic symptoms within seven days.
  • Human-to-human transmission is possible through direct contact with bodily fluids, surfaces and materials.
  • Incubation Period

● 5-10 days.


  • Fever, Chills, Severe Head ache, Discomfort.
  • Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic symptoms within seven days.
  • Symptoms become increasingly severe and can include jaundice.
  • Inflammation of the pancreas, severe weight loss, delirium.
  • Shock, liver failure, massive hemorrhaging, and multi-organ dysfunction.

Laboratory Diagnosis

  • Real-time PCR
  • Antibody detection by ELISA (IgG & IgM)
  • Serum Neutralization Test
  • Electron microscopy
  • Virus isolation by cell culture
  • All biological specimens should be packaged using the triple packaging system when transported nationally and internationally.


  • Vaccine & antiviral drugs are not available.
  • Supportive hospital therapy should be utilized, which includes balancing the patient's fluids and electrolytes, maintaining oxygen status.
  • Blood pressure, replacing lost blood and clotting factors, and treatment for any complicating infection.
  • Experimental treatments are validated in non-human primate models but have never been tried in humans. 
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