Facts about the Marburg Virus and Its Precautions

Marburg Virus
Virus Identification

The World Health Organization warns of a potential outbreak of a Marburg virus similar to Ebola. According to WHO, Marburg virus infection or MVD has a mortality ratio of up to 88 percent. But it can be much lower with good patient care.

Marburg virus and Ebola virus both belong to the family Filoviridae (filovirus). Although caused by different viruses, the two infections are clinically similar.

Quoted from the official WHO website, here are several facts about the Marburg virus.

Initially, MVD infection was transmitted to humans by prolonged exposure to mines or caves inhabited by colonies of Rousettus bats.

However, Marburg infection can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes with the blood, secretions, organs, or other body fluids of an infected person. With surfaces and materials, such as bedding or clothing which are contaminated with these bodily fluids.

Health care workers are often infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed MVD. This occurs through close contact with patients when infection control precautions aren’t strictly enforced.

Transmission through contaminated injection equipment or needle stick wounds is also associated with more severe disease, rapid deterioration, and, possibly, higher mortality.

The incubation period from the onset of infection to the onset of symptoms varies greatly from person to person. It can be from 2 to 21 days.

Symptoms of Marburg Virus Infection

Symptoms of Marburg virus infection are high fever, severe headache, and severe malaise (not feeling well). Symptoms of muscle pain are one of the common characteristics.

In addition, severe watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, and vomiting may also occur on the third day of symptoms. Diarrhea can last for a week.

Many patients have severe bleeding manifestations between 5 and 7 days, and fatal cases usually have some form of bleeding, often from multiple areas. During the severe phase of the disease, the patient also has a high fever.

Infection of the central nervous system can result in confusion, irritability, and aggression. Orchitis (inflammation of one or both testicles) is sometimes reported in the late phase of the disease or day 15.

In fatal cases, death most often occurs on the 8th or 9th day after the onset of symptoms. It is usually preceded by severe blood loss and shock.

Marburg Virus Prevention Measures

According to WHO guidelines, the main way to prevent transmission of the Marburg virus is during work or research activities or tourist visits in mines or caves inhabited by fruit bat colonies, people should wear gloves and other appropriate protective clothing (including masks).

Meanwhile, during an epidemic, all animal products (blood and meat), must be cooked before consumption.

To be more alert, here are some steps to prevent transmission of the Marburg virus that you can do:

1. Reduce the risk of human-to-human transmission in the community arising from direct or close contact with infected patients, especially with their body fluids.

2. Close physical contact with the Marburg patient should be avoided. Gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when caring for sick patients at home.

3. Regular hand washing should be done after visiting sick relatives in the hospital, as well as after caring for sick patients at home.

4. Measures to deal with the epidemic, including prompt, safe, and dignified burials.

5. Identify people who may have been in contact with someone infected with Marburg and monitor their health for 21 days

6. Separating the healthy from the sick to prevent further spread and provide care to confirmed patients and maintain good hygiene and the environment clean needs to be considered.

These are several steps to prevent the transmission of the Marburg virus so that you can be more vigilant in dealing with this virus.