Marburg Virus also known as (MARV) is a viral disease found in animals and human beings. It is called as the Marburg haemorrhagic fever (MHF) spread by contacts with the infected bloods and fluids of animals and humans. MARV is classified in the 5th Group ssRNA Virus in the order of Mononegavirales. It is from the family of Filoviridae. Its Genus is Marburg virus and belongs to the Species of Marburg or marburgvirus. The first epidemic was broke out in European countries in the 1960s as Marburg Virus Disease (MDV). Its symptoms are fever with severe headaches along with high temperature. MDV is caused by the animals and birds. Infected blood transmitted to humans directly or indirectly causes this deadly disease. There are no vaccines developed so far but the disease is treatable only with supportive treatments based on antiviral drugs. If not treated on time my lead to be fatal in humans.
Spread and Symptoms
Marburg Virus is mostly spread through the fruit bats belonged to the family of Pteropodidae. The MHF is common to see where the fruit bats dwell; these are mostly the caves of abounded mines, huge trees and natural caves found in mountains. These bats do travel around human settlements and leave behind their urines, excretes, and blood. Direct or indirect contact with the fluids of the dead bats can also infect humans with this virus. This viral infection can spread among human population by infected humans. MDV is a congestive disease spread by the infected persons. The main symptoms are seen as severe headache, diarrhea, high fever, abdominal pain, cramping, and vomiting. They may be seen within a week’s time of infection. On the extreme stage it is associated with bleeding from multiple areas such as blood stains found in vomiting and in feces. Sometimes blood stains are also seen on the gums, nose and in vagina. These symptoms occur within two weeks of time and when bleeding is found, it is dangerous and can take the patient’s life.
Prevention and Cure
Marburg fever can only be prevented by taking necessary precaution, where the fruit bats have taken shelter. The mine workers are the first risk for getting MHF. They must wear hand gloves and protect their nose too. It is also advisable to wear a protective gear dress when in mines. Since the spread by animals can’t be stopped totally, it can be only prevented by avoiding those places. The infected person is diagnosed and cured through various tests like virus isolation, or PCR of blood and immunohistochemistry. Only supportive medicines are there to improve an infected person. Since there is no effective vaccine so far developed, the symptoms are treated with the anti viral drugs. These infected cases are kept under clinical supervision and if found high in fever, the dosages are increased for the affected patients.
Research and Development
Marburg Virus is prominent in the African continent. There were many researches carried out in many African countries and they were successful to find better results with the animals. So far no effective vaccine is developed for the humans. There are many research and development programs conducted all over the world. Only a few preventive methods are developed so far for the African mine workers. Since its breakout, any African animals imported for a zoo or for breeding purposes are tested by various official authorities to ensure that those animals are free from this virus. African wild animals are much in demand by other nations who lack such animals to increase their present animal population in their countries. Many monkeys which live close to the human residences are put back to their natural habitat in the deep forests. These are the latest steps taken by the African nations.
History of Marburg Virus
MHF or the Marburg haemorrhagic fever was first reported in Germany. Nearly 50 people were affected by this virus. A case study reported that these peoples were in close contacts with the Green Monkeys which were brought from Africa. These monkeys were also found positive by the laboratorial tests. Nearly 10 peoples were reported dead from the areas of Frankfurt, Marburg, Serbia, and Belgrade. Since the first case was reported in Marburg, Germany, this disease was named after its place of origin as Marburg Virus. But this was a prominent disease in the central African regions. Here it was mainly caused by the fruit bats. Here the MHF cases were mostly affecting the mine workers, where these bats have their shelters in those mines. The mortality rate was also high and many were affected by the MHF. The outbreak of MHF was reported from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many tourists who went to these countries were also found with MHF positive when they returned to their home countries. Since then in the 1980s many travelers and tourist avoided to travel in the African countries. In 2005 MHF outbreak took place in Lake Victoria and its name a changed to Lake Victoria Marburg virus. But in 2010 the old name itself was considered to use for not confusing people and its related field studies. The MARV were used as biological weapons by the Soviet Union and were destroyed safely with the intervention of world leaders.
Marburg Virus is a zoonotic type of virus which infects humans and is found communicable. This has become drastic fatal human pathogens in the African continent. Nearly a million of people were dead due to MHF since the past few centuries. Only preventive measures can be taken to avoid MHF. It is advisable to be away from the bat zone areas. When found with few symptoms, it is always advisable for a complete test for MHF by consulting to a nearby physician. Since there is no effective vaccine to cure MHF, only supervised treatments are available to get well from the MHF. The W.H.O. and all local governmental health departments are conducting various awareness programs to prevent from MHF and also educate them how to protect from these zoonotic disease if they were living in the areas of MDV infected animals and birds, which are the fruit bats and monkeys.