KOLKATA: Marburg virus disease (MVD), formerly known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
Marburg virus is the causative agent of Marburg virus disease, a disease with a case fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent.
The disease was initially detected in 1967 after simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany; and in Belgrade, Serbia.
Marburg and Ebola viruses are both members of the Filoviridae family (filovirus).
Though caused by different viruses, the two diseases are clinically similar.
Both diseases are rare and have the capacity to cause dramatic outbreaks with high fatality rates.
Initially, human MVD infection results from prolonged exposure to mines or caves inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies.
Marburg spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g.bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.
Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed MVD.
This has occurred through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practiced.
Transmission via contaminated injection equipment or through needle-stick injuries is associated with more severe disease, rapid deterioration, and, possibly, a higher fatality rate.
Burial ceremonies that involve direct contact with the body of the deceased can also contribute in the transmission of Marburg.
People remain infectious as long as their blood contains the virus.
Marburg virus transmission via infected semen has been documented up to seven weeks after clinical recovery.
More surveillance data and research are needed on the risks of sexual transmission, and particularly on the prevalence of viable and transmissible virus in semen over time.