World Health Organization says risk of Marburg virus is 'very high' across ... trends now

World Health Organization says risk of Marburg virus is 'very high' across ... trends now
World Health Organization says risk of Marburg virus is 'very high' across ... trends now

World Health Organization says risk of Marburg virus is 'very high' across ... trends now

How deadly is Marburg?

Marburg is one of the deadliest pathogens known to man.

The WHO says it has a case-fatality ratio (CFR) of up to 90 percent.

But experts estimate that it probably sits closer to the 50 percent mark, similar to its cousin Ebola — another member of the filoviridae family.

That means that out of every 100 people confirmed to be infected with Marburg, half would be expected to die.

Scientists don't, however, know the infection-fatality rate, which measures everyone who gets infected — not just cases that test positive.

For comparison, Covid had a CFR of around three percent when it burst onto the scene.

What are the tell-tale symptoms?

Symptoms appear abruptly and include severe headaches, fever, diarrhoea, stomach pain and vomiting. They become increasingly severe.

In the early stages of MVD — the disease it causes — it is very difficult to distinguish from other tropical illnesses, such as Ebola, and malaria.

Infected patients become 'ghost-like', often developing deep-set eyes and expressionless faces.

This is usually accompanied by bleeding from multiple orifices — including the nose, gums, eyes and vagina.

Like Ebola, even dead bodies can spread the virus to people exposed to its fluids.

How does the virus spread?

Human infections typically start in areas where people have prolonged exposure to mines or caves inhabited by infected fruit bat colonies.

Fruit bats naturally harbor the virus.

It can, however, then spread between humans, through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, surfaces and materials.

Contaminated clothing and bedding are a risk, as are burial ceremonies that involve direct contact with the deceased.

In Equatorial Guinea, the virus was found in samples taken from deceased patients suffering from symptoms including fever, fatigue and blood-stained vomit and diarrhea.

Healthcare workers have been frequently infected while treating Marburg patients.

Gavi, an international organization promoting vaccine access, says that people in Africa should avoid eating or handling bushmeat.

Is there a vaccine?

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