Author(s): Bray M
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Abstract The filoviruses, Marburg and Ebola, are classified as Category A biowarfare agents by the Centers for Disease Control. Most known human infections with these viruses have been fatal, and no vaccines or effective therapies are currently available. Filoviruses are highly infectious by the airborne route in the laboratory, but investigations of African outbreaks have shown that person-to-person spread requires direct contact with virus-containing material. In consequence, filovirus epidemics can be halted by isolating patients and instituting standard infection control and barrier nursing procedures. The filovirus disease syndrome resembles that caused by other hemorrhagic fever viruses, necessitating studies in a biocontainment laboratory to confirm the diagnosis. Some progress has been made in developing vaccines and antiviral drugs, but efforts are hindered by the limited number of maximum containment laboratories. Terrorists might have great difficulty acquiring a filovirus for use as a weapon, but my attempt to do so because of the agents' ability to inspire fear. Accurate information is the best tool to prevent panic in the event of an attack.
This article was published in Antiviral Res
and referenced in Journal of Infectious Diseases and Diagnosis