Marburg hemorrhagic fever (Marburg HF) is a rare but severe hemorrhagic fever which affects both humans and non-human primates. Marburg HF is caused by Marburg virus, a genetically unique zoonotic (or, animal-borne) RNA virus of the filovirus family. The five species of Ebola virus are the only other known members of the filovirus family.
The reservoir host of Marburg virus is the African fruit bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus. Fruit bats infected with Marburg virus do not to show obvious signs of illness. Primates (including humans) can become infected with Marburg virus, and may develop serious disease with high mortality. The Marburg virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons. Transmission of the Marburg virus also occurred by handling ill or dead infected wild animals (monkeys, fruit bats).
The onset of illness is sudden, with:
By about the third day symptoms include:
There is no specific treatment available for Marburg virus disease. Patients receive supportive therapy, including:
First outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever occurred in Europe. The source of primary infection during this outbreak was exposure to tissues and blood from African green monkeys imported from Uganda for use in the pharmaceutical industry. In total, the number of known MHF cases is approximately 450.