What is Marburg Virus: Symptoms and Everything You Need to Know About the Disease

What is Marburg Virus: Symptoms and Everything You Need to Know About the Disease


While the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a health threat worldwide, Marburg fever was reported from the West African country Ghana. According to the World Health Organization, the highly contagious Marburg virus manifests itself with high fever, muscle pain and headaches. So what exactly is this disease and should we be worried? Here's everything you need to know about Marburg virus disease.


  • Marburg virus disease, formerly known as Marburg hemorrhagic fever, is a fatal disease that causes severe symptoms in humans.
  • The virus causes severe fever.
  • The average fatality rate is around 50%.
  • There is no approved treatment method yet proven to neutralize the virus.
  • Treatment involves rehydration and supportive care plan.
  • Natural hosts of the virus are fruit bats of the family Pteropodidae. The virus, which has been transmitted to humans, spreads through human-to-human contact.
  • This contagious disease first manifests itself with high fever, and in the final stage, it causes severe blood loss and shock.

What is Marburg Virus?

Marburg virus, which is in the same family as the virus of the disease that causes Ebola, is a dangerous virus with a high mortality rate according to the World Health Organization data. Although Ebola and Marburg viruses originate from different viruses, they have clinically similar characteristics. Both rare diseases can cause epidemics with high mortality rates.

So, when did the Marburg Virus appear? The name Marburg was given because the Marburg virus first appeared in 1976 in the city of Marburg, West Germany. In addition, the virus, which was also seen in Frankfurt, affected a total of 30 people in Germany. Then it continued its course by affecting 2 people in Belgrade. It has also been detected in large numbers of people who later traveled to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

What Are the Symptoms of Marburg Fever?

The symptoms caused by this virus worsen over time. According to the data of the World Health Organization, the disease, which lasts between 2-21 days, suddenly manifests itself with fever, muscle weakness and severe headache. After these symptoms, the person experiences severe watery diarrhea. Diarrhea may be bloody in some cases. Diarrhea is accompanied by abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, rash and weakness. In fatal cases, the course of the disease continues in the form of excessive blood loss with bleeding in more than one region on the 8th or 9th days. Other Marburg virus symptoms are as follows:

  • Pain in the throat
  • Bleeding in the nose
  • Bleeding of the gums
  • Bleeding from the eyes, ears, rectum and vagina
  • Chest pain and cough
  • Internal bleeding
  • Red eyes
  • Bruising
  • Severe weight loss

Marburg Virus Mortality Rates in the World

The Marburg virus is not common in the world for now, and the World Health Organization is closely following the course of the virus and asking, "How many people died from the Marburg Virus?" The Marburg virus death rate and the number of cases in the countries where the virus is seen are as follows:

  • Germany - 196 729 cases and 7 deaths
  • Democratic Republic of Congo - 154 cases and 128 deaths between 1998-2000
  • Angola - 374 cases and 329 deaths in 2005
  • Uganda - 15 cases and 4 deaths in 2012
  • Uganda - 3 cases and 3 deaths in 2017
  • Ghana - 2 deaths in 2022

How Is Marburg Virus Transmitted?

This virus is transmitted from fruit bats to humans. It also spreads from person to person by contact with body fluids of infected people or surfaces contaminated with these fluids.

How Is Marburg Virus Diagnosed?

In order to distinguish Marburg disease from typhoid fever, meningitis, malaria and other viral fever diseases and to make the necessary diagnosis, the following tests are required:

  • Antigen detection tests
  • ELISA test
  • Serum neutralization tests
  • RT-PCR test

Marburg Fever Treatment

There is no treatment for Marburg Virus. However, drugs are given to support immunity during the infection.

Precautions for Marburg Fever

First of all, personal hygiene rules should be followed in order to be protected from Marburg and other infectious diseases. Then, attention should be paid to the necessary hygiene rules in common/crowded areas. Social distancing should be practiced. However, in today's world where infectious diseases are common, a balanced and healthy diet should be followed in order to strengthen immunity. Staying away from a sedentary lifestyle, knowing stress management and following a quality sleep pattern are among the other precautions to be taken. Since there is no vaccine or treatment for Marburg virus, prevention with the mentioned measures play a vital role.

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