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Marburg virus

The Marburg virus is the causative agent of Marburg hemorrhagic fever. Both the disease and virus are related to Ebola and originate in a similar area (Uganda and western Kenya). Its source is a zoonose of unknown origin.

This virus was first documented in 1967, when 37 people became ill in the German towns of Marburg and Frankfurt am Main, apparently caused by infectious, imported African green monkeys from Uganda. It was the first filovirus to be identified. Further, limited, outbreaks of the disease occurred in 1975, 1980 and 1987.

The disease is characterised by the sudden onset of fever, headache, and myalgia. Within a week a maculopapular rash develops followed by vomiting, chest and abdominal pain, and diarrhea. The disease can then become increasingly damaging, causing jaundice, delirium, liver failure, and extensive hemorrhage. Recovery from the disease is prolonged and can be marked by orchitis, recurrent hepatitis, transverse myelitis or uvetis, inflammation of spinal cord, eye, or parotid gland. The fatality rate is around 25%.