Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Marburg virus disease

Intensive social mobilization was key in controlling Marburg outbreak in Uige, Angola 2005.

Marburg virus disease (MVD) (formerly known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever) 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. MVD is a severe and highly fatal disease caused by a virus from the same family as the one that causes Ebola virus disease. 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. 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 and the outbreak in Angola in 2005.

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

Disease outbreaks