GS Paper - 3 (Health and Diseases)

The first two cases of the Marburg virus, a highly infectious Ebola-like disease, have been confirmed officially by Ghana after test results were verified by a Senegal laboratory. This outbreak is only the second time that the disease has been detected in West Africa.

What is the Marburg virus disease?

  1. Marburg virus disease (MVD), earlier known as Marburg haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal hemorrhagic fever, according to the WHO.
  2. Marburg, like Ebola, is a filovirus; and both diseases are clinically similar.
  3. Rousettus fruit-bats are considered the natural hosts for Marburg virus. However, African green monkeys imported from Uganda were the source of the first human infection, the WHO points out.
  4. It was first detected in 1967 after simultaneous outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany; and in Belgrade, Serbia.
  5. The disease has an average fatality rate of around 50%. However, it can be as low as 24% or as high as 88% depending on virus strain and case management, says the WHO.
  6. After the onset of symptoms, which can begin anytime between 2 to 21 days, MVD can manifest itself in the form of high fever, muscle aches and severe headache.
  7. Around the third day, patients report abdominal pain, vomiting, severe watery diarrhoea and cramping.
  8. In this phase, the WHO says, the appearance of patients has been often described as “ghost-like” with deep-set eyes, expressionless faces, and extreme lethargy.