Ebola virus and Marburg virus are related viruses that cause hemorrhagic fevers ? illnesses marked by severe bleeding (hemorrhage), organ failure and, in many cases, death. Both viruses are native to Africa, where sporadic outbreaks have occurred for decades. Ebola virus and Marburg virus live in animal hosts, and humans can contract the viruses from infected animals. After the initial transmission, the viruses can spread from person to person through contact with body fluids or contaminated needles. No drug has been approved to treat either virus. People diagnosed with Ebola or Marburg virus receive supportive care and treatment for complications. Scientists are coming closer to developing vaccines for these deadly diseases. Ebola virus has been found in African monkeys, chimps and other nonhuman primates. A milder strain of Ebola has been discovered in monkeys and pigs in the Philippines. Marburg virus has been found in monkeys, chimps and fruit bats in Africa.
Signs and symptoms typically begin abruptly within five to 10 days of infection with Ebola or Marburg virus. Early signs and symptoms include: Fever, Severe headache, Joint and muscle aches, Chills, Weakness etc. No antiviral medications have proved effective in treating infection with either virus. Supportive hospital care includes: Providing fluids, maintaining blood pressure, providing oxygen as needed, Replacing lost blood and treating other infections that develop.
Ebola and Marburg viruses are responsible for well-documented outbreaks of severe human hemorrhagic fever, with resultant case mortalities ranging from 23% for Marburg virus. Ebola virus infection has no sexual predilection, but men and women differ with respect to the manner in which direct exposure occurs. Because most cases of Ebola virus infection have occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, most patients have been black. However, no evidence exists for a specific racial predilection.