Another Bloody Epidemic
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marburg Fortunately, the Ebola outbreak in Africa is on the wane, but another related virus is now spreading in East Africa. The Marburg virus outbreak began in Turkana, Kenya with a game hunter who died after coming into contact with infected fruit bats.

Marburg virus belongs to a family of viruses called Filovirus that includes Ebola. Like Ebola, it’s spread by contact with blood, bodily fluids or tissues, contaminated equipment or other objects.

This latest outbreak began in September two-thousand-seventeen with the game hunter who lived near a cave inhabited by African fruit bats, which are natural reservoirs for the virus. The man, in his thirties, developed a high fever, was vomiting and had diarrhea. He was treated for malaria at a hospital but quickly worsened and died. His sister, who had nursed him, died next. The third victim was their brother. As is often the case with Filovirus hemorrhagic fevers, two health care workers also developed symptoms.

Even though health officials try to contain the virus by tracking down everyone who came into contact with a sick patient, it’s challenging since many East Africans have large families with elaborate burial rituals.

Other factors make containing this outbreak more challenging. Hospitals in the region keep patients in one large room which allows transmission more easily. And Turkana is near the Kenya-Uganda border which means as people move between the two countries, they could bring the virus with them.

The hope is that lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak of 2016 can be used to limit this and future outbreaks.

For more information…

Marburg Virus Disease
Marburg virus is the causative agent of Marburg virus disease (MVD), a disease with a case fatality ratio of up to 88%...

The Big Picture Book of Viruses: Filoviridae
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Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever
People who have close contact with African fruit bats, humans patients, or non-human primates infected with Marburg virus are at risk...

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A DEADLY outbreak of a rare and highly fatal virus has broken out in eastern Uganda and five cases have already been identified, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed...