Marburg haemorrhagic fever
Marburg haemorrhagic fever (MHF) was first identified in 1967 during epidemics in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany and Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia from importation of infected monkeys from Uganda. MHF is a viral haemorrhagic fever and a severe and highly fatal disease caused by a virus from the same family as the one that causes Ebola haemorrhagic fever. These viruses are among the most virulent pathogens known to infect humans. Both diseases are rare, but have a capacity to cause dramatic outbreaks with high fatality.
Illness caused by Marburg virus begins abruptly, with severe headache and severe malaise. Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic manifestations between days 5 and 7, and fatal cases usually have some form of bleeding, often from multiple sites. The disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment. Case fatality rates have varied greatly, from 25% in the initial laboratory-associated outbreak in 1967, to more than 80% in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1998-2000, to even higher in the outbreak that began in Angola in late 2004.
The Marburg virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons. Transmission of the Marburg virus also occurred by handling ill or dead infected wild animals (monkeys, fruit bats). The predominant treatment is general supportive therapy.