The Marburg virus was discovered for the first time in 1967 in the German town of the same name. According to reports, African green monkeys were used in laboratory experiments.
Another virus has sparked fresh concerns in many parts of the world after Ghana in West Africa reported its first Marburg outbreak.
Due to the virus, which is reportedly highly contagious, two unrelated deaths were reported in the county after patients displayed symptoms like diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
“Health authorities have responded swiftly, getting a head start preparing for a possible outbreak. This is good because, without immediate and decisive action, Marburg can easily get out of hand. WHO is on the ground supporting health authorities and now that the outbreak is declared, we are marshaling more resources for the response,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, making a warning note of caution.
Marburg virus, which causes the rare disease, is a genetically unique zoonotic (or animal-borne) virus. According to the leading US medical organization CDC, it can cause a severe hemorrhagic fever that affects both humans and non-human primates (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
According to the WHO, the illness frequently results in death in humans, with an 88 percent fatality rate being possible. “The average fatality rate for MVD cases is about 50%. depending upon virus strain and case management, case fatality rates have ranged from 24 to 88 percent in previous outbreaks”, according to a factsheet from the world health body
According to the CDC, The disease was first detected in 1967 after simultaneous outbreaks in laboratories in Germany’s Marburg town and Frankfurt, one of the most densely populated cities of the country, and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia).
According to reports, African green monkeys were used in laboratory experiments.
“A total of 31 people, including family members who had been caring for them and several medical professionals, fell ill. There were seven reported deaths. According to the US health organization, the first infected individuals had contact with African green monkeys imported from Uganda or their tissues while conducting research.
The reservoir is said to be home to African fruit bats. Fruit bats with the Marburg virus do not exhibit observable symptoms of illness. The Marburg virus can infect primates, including humans, and cause serious illness with a high mortality rate, according to the CDC.
According to the WHO, it can be spread through direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected people, as well as with surfaces and materials (like bedding, and clothing), that have been contaminated with these fluids. This contact can occur through a cut or other damage to the skin or mucous membranes.