Basic information on the virus:
The Marburg Virus is a severe type of hemorrhagic fever. Hemorrhagic fevers are characterized by a sudden onset of high fever and chills, headache, pain in the muscles, joints and abdomen with nausea and vomiting, cold and cough, followed by internal and external bleeding. Specifically, the Marburg virus is caused by the RNA virus of the filovirus family and is zoonotic, or animal-borne. Ebola is also in the filovirus family.
When it was discovered:
Marburg was first discovered in 1967 when there were simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany and Belgrade, Yugoslavia. A total of 37 people were affected. The first people to be affected were laboratory workers, who came into contact with African green monkeys or their tissues. In Marburg, the monkeys were being used to study polio vaccines.
Where it comes from and how it is transferred:
Many extensive details are not known about the virus because it is so rare and there have only been a handful of cases. The virus is indigenous to Africa, although its exact geographic origin is unknown. The animal host is also still mystery, but it is believed that fruit bats could be the natural host. How the host animal transmits the virus to humans is unclear. As stated earlier, a person dealing with infected monkeys and specifically cell cultures or bodily fluids and tissue, have become infected. Like other hemorrhagic fevers, humans that have been infected can spread the virus to others. The virus can spread between humans in several ways. It has occured because of close contact or settings, like a hospital or in the home. Direct contact with bodily fluids, or contaminated equipment, is also a source of disease.
The incubation and symptoms:
The incubation time varies from 2 to 21 days. Many patients develop symptoms between 5 and 7 days.
The onset of the disease is abrupt. It begins with a high fever, severe headache and severe malaise, or the general feeling of sickness.