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Marburg Disease Outbreak: Symptoms and Warning Signs you should be aware of

Tanzania has announced the Marburg virus disease (MVD) outbreak. Know signs and symptoms of this deadly disease.

India TV Health Desk Edited By: India TV Health Desk New Delhi Published on: March 28, 2023 11:35 IST
Marburg Disease
Image Source : FREEPIK Marburg Disease Outbreak: Symptoms and Warning Signs

Tanzania announced its first Marburg outbreak on March 21 when eight residents experienced symptoms of the viral  disease, including fever, vomiting, bleeding, and kidney failure, following laboratory tests in the northwest Kagera region.

Marburg virus disease (MVD), formerly known as Marburg hemorrhagic fever which is a serious and deadly disease belongs to the family of viruses called filoviruses like the  Ebola virus.

Although these illnesses are uncommon, they can nonetheless lead to outbreaks that have a high mortality rate. Marburg viral disease was first identified in 1967 followed by current epidemics in Africa, Marburg, Frankfurt, and Belgrade, Serbia, as well as Germany.

The average mortality rate in MVD cases is around 50%. Depending on the virus type and patient care, fatality rates in previous epidemics ranged from 24% to 88%. Early symptomatic and supportive therapy along with rehydration enhances survival. Although a number of blood products, immunological treatments, and pharmacological therapies are actively being developed, no licenced treatment has yet been demonstrated to completely neutralise the virus.

Marburg is spread through direct human-to-human contact with bodily fluids, surfaces, and materials contaminated by the virus.

Signs and symptoms

According to the WHO, Marburg virus disease's signs and symptoms can show up "abruptly," along with a high temperature, a severe headache, and severe malaise.

Muscle aches and pains, cramping in the stomach, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea are additional frequent symptoms. 

According to the WHO, patients go through this stage with "ghost-like" features, deep-set eyes, expressionless faces, and profound lethargy.

A common symptom is muscle discomfort and aches. On the third day, severe watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, and vomiting can start. Diarrhoea can last up to a week. 

Aggression, impatience, and bewilderment are all side effects of central nervous system involvement. Occasionally, in the advanced stages of the illness, reports of orchitis (inflammation of one or both testicles) have been made.

Death usually occurs 8–9 days after the onset of symptoms, which are typically preceded by significant blood loss and organ damage.

Community involvement is key to effectively managing outbreaks, and effective ways to lower human transmission include increasing public awareness of the risk factors and taking protective actions.

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