Marburg virus: what we know so far

JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH

Outside of a host, viruses do not exist and are therefore essentially useless. Inside the host cell, they have the potential to become alive and manipulative. The deadly Marburg virus, which belongs to the same family as the Ebola virus, has sickening symptoms. Two of the four people the Marburg virus infected had already passed away as of August 1st. Join us as we investigate what is currently known about the Marburg virus.

History of the disease

The illness was first identified in 1967 when it broke out in Germany and Yugoslavia, infecting 31 people and killing about 7, or nearly 1 in 5 of those infected. African green monkeys that were brought into the country from Uganda for laboratory testing carried the virus. Serbia experienced a second outbreak of the illness that same year. There have since been sporadic outbreaks in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa (in a person with recent travel history to Zimbabwe), the Netherlands, and Uganda.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that in Guinea in 2021, one person contracted the infection and passed away as a result of it, despite the fact that all potential contacts who were tested and monitored for 21 days returned negative results.

Ghana experienced its fair share of the disease in 2022, when two of the three infected people died.

How the disease spreads

Human-to-human transmission of the virus occurs when infected individuals' blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids come into direct contact with surfaces and materials (like bedding and clothing) that have been contaminated with these fluids.

Health professionals typically contract the virus while attending to patients who have the virus either suspected or confirmed. This occurred as a result of lax adherence to personal protective equipment and safety precautions. Injuries caused by used needles or transmission through contaminated equipment cause severe infection, which is almost always followed by death.

Direct contact with the deceased's body during funeral rites can also spread the Marburg virus.

As long as a person's blood still has the virus in it, they are still infectious.

Symptoms of the virus

The incubation period, also known as the time from when the virus enters your body to when you first experience symptoms, can last anywhere between 2 and 21 days. The first signs are a sudden high fever, a severe headache, and extreme malaise. Others might feel pain in their muscles all over their bodies. On the third day, some people experience diarrhea, cramping, nausea, and vomiting. A week may pass before diarrhea stops. Patients at this stage have been described as having drawn features that are "ghost-like," deep-set eyes, expressionless faces, and extreme lethargy. Between 2 and 7 days after the onset of symptoms, non-itchy rash was a characteristic seen in the majority of patients in the 1967 European outbreak.

The symptoms get worse over time because many people start having severe hemorrhagic manifestations five days after they first appeared. the symptoms cause some type of bleeding in various body parts, including the nose, gums, or vagina. Vomit and feces may contain blood.

It's unsettling when there is sudden bleeding where fluid and blood samples are being injected or removed or given. Patients who become seriously ill throughout the process maintain a high fever. Aggression, irritability, and confusion are all side effects of central nervous system involvement. Sometimes in the late stages of the illness, orchitis (inflammation of one or both testicles) has been reported.

The majority of the time, death occurs in fatal cases between 8 and 9 days after the onset of symptoms, usually preceded by severe blood loss and shock.

Diagnosis

The Marburg virus illness is particularly difficult to diagnose. this is due to the fact that some symptoms, particularly if there is only one case of the infection, are similar to those of other illnesses like Lassa fever, Ebola, and even typhoid and malaria.

If someone thinks they may have the Marburg virus disease, they need to isolate themselves from others right away and let the medical team know. From the suspected case, samples will be taken and sent to the lab for analysis.

Treatment

There are currently no medications or vaccines available to treat the infection. However, the disease can be controlled with the right care and an early diagnosis. this enhances survival and includes supportive care, such as rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids, and treatment of particular symptoms.

Treatments are being researched. Monoclonal antibodies are human-made proteins that improve the function of your immune system. The effectiveness of antiviral drugs used in clinical studies for the treatment of Ebola, such as favipiravir and remdesivir, in the management of MVD is also being investigated.

The vaccines Mvabea and Zabdeno were authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for use against the Ebola virus in 2020. These vaccines may offer MVD protection since the two viruses are in the same family, but more clinical trials are required before experts can be certain.

Prevention

It has been shown that the marburg virus disease is contagious and deadly. To protect yourself from infection, stay away from sick non-human primates and fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus). Avoid going into mines, caves, and other places where these animals may be found.

Direct contact with a person who is thought to be infected must stop in order to stop the infection from spreading. Only when wearing protective gear should you make contact. The use of protective clothing, gloves, and masks, strict isolation of the infected person, and sterilization or proper disposal of needles, tools, and patient excretions are some of these precautions.

Nutshell

Although Marburg virus disease is a rare condition, when it strikes, its symptoms are terrifying. An outbreak can be prevented by raising awareness and upholding the recommendations of scientists and health professionals. Thus, remember to spread the word by sharing this article.

References

  1. WHO. Marburg Virus disease. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/marburg-virus-disease.
  2. CDC.Marburg Virus disease.Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/marburg/index.html
Health

JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH

A young lady who is excited to influence the society and world with the knowledge she has acquired.