- Life Expectancy
Marburg virus disease (formerly known as Marburg hemorrhagic fever) and Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) are both members of the Filoviridae family that cause severe, often fatal illness in humans.
Symptoms of both infections are similar, though differences include:
- Ebola virus is slightly more contagious than Marburg virus
- Initially, human Marburg virus infection results from prolonged exposure to mines or caves inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies while the Ebola virus is initially spread through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest
- Currently, there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved for Marburg virus infection, but there are vaccines available for some strains of Ebola virus disease, as well as some approved treatments for some strains of the Ebola virus
What Are Symptoms of Marburg and Ebola Virus Infections?
Symptoms of Marburg virus and Ebola virus infections include:
- Sudden onset of flu-like illness
- By the third day
- About five to seven days after the onset of symptoms
- In severe cases
- Decreased level of consciousness
- The final stage of the disease, which is fatal
- Multi-organ failure
- Hypovolemic shock due to severe fluid losses
How Are Marburg and Ebola Viruses Transmitted?
Marburg virus causes Marburg virus disease and Ebola virus causes Ebola virus disease.
Initially, human Marburg virus infection results from prolonged exposure to mines or caves inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies while the Ebola virus is initially spread through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
After initial infection, both viruses are transmitted from person-to-person through direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes via:
- Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Marburg virus or Ebola virus disease
- Surfaces and materials (e.g., bedding, clothing) contaminated with bodily fluids (such as blood, feces, vomit) from a person sick with Marburg virus or Ebola virus disease or the body of a person who died from the infection
- The viruses may persist in breast milk in pregnant women who get acute infections and recover or women who have been infected while breastfeeding and they may pass the virus on to their baby (breastfeeding women recovering from the virus may continue breastfeeding, but breast milk needs to be tested for the viruses before she can do so)
- Burial ceremonies that involve direct contact with the body of the deceased can also contribute to transmission
People continue to be contagious as long as their blood contains the viruses.
How Is Marburg and Ebola Virus Infections Diagnosed?
Marburg virus and Ebola virus infections are diagnosed with a patient history and physical examination, along with tests such as:
What Is the Treatment for Marburg and Ebola Virus Infections?
The main treatment for both Marburg virus and Ebola virus infections includes supportive care, including:
- Rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids
- Maintenance of blood volume and electrolyte balance
- Replacement of depleted coagulation factors
- Minimization of invasive procedures
- Treatment of specific symptoms, including use of pain medications
There are also a number of treatments being developed. Most of them are for forms of Ebola virus infection though some may be used for Marburg virus infection under compassionate use/expanded access.
- A combination of atoltivimab, maftivimab, and odesivimab-ebgn (Inmazeb) and ansuvimab-zykl (Ebanga) were approved for the treatment of Zaire ebolavirus (Ebolavirus) infection
- Remdesivir (Veklury) and favipiravir (Avigan) have been used in clinical studies for Ebola virus disease and may also be tested for Marburg virus disease or used under compassionate use/expanded access
- Ebola Zaire vaccine, live (Ervebo) for Zaire ebolavirus
- A two-component vaccine: Ad26.ZEBOV (Zabdeno) and MVA-BN-Filo (Mvabea) for Ebola virus disease
What Is the Life Expectancy for Marburg and Ebola Virus Infections?
- The average fatality rate for both Marburg virus and Ebola virus infections is around 50%.
- Fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88% in past outbreaks of Marburg virus infection depending on virus strain and case management.
- Case fatality rates of Ebola virus infection have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
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