Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever

Type: Viral

Geography: Africa

Cases Per Year: 1 to 300

Fatality Rate: 23 to 90%

First Discovered: 1967 by laboratory workers in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany

The reservoir host of Marburg virus is an African fruit bat. Unprotected contact with bat feces or aerosols is the most likely route of transmission from animals to humans. Transmission occurs between person-to-person contact but this is a very rare human disease.

Symptoms appear 5 to 10 days following infection. Fever, child, headache and myalgia occur early.  After the fifth day of symptoms, a maculopapular rash on the chest, back, and stomach may occur, along with nausea, vomiting, chest pain, a sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Symptoms become increasingly severe and can include jaundice, inflammation of the pancreas, severe weight loss, delirium, shock, liver failure, massive hemorrhaging, and multi-organ dysfunction.

Photo: Marburg virus – Electron micrograph.