Wednesday, April 18, 2012

History of Marburg virus

Marburg virus was first identified in 1967 during simultaneously outbreaks in Germany and Yugoslavia among laboratory workers handling African green monkeys and/or tissues from contaminated monkeys imported from Uganda.

The causative agent was cultivated from the blood of sick humans and as customary for arboviruses and other zoonotic viruses was named Marburg virus after the site where the viral samples were obtained.

Although the total number of cases was small, the epidemic created alarm because the mortality rate was high over 25% and treatments such as antibiotics were powerless against the disease.

At the initial outbreak in 1967 thirty one persons came down with an acute illness and fever and seven of them died before the virus was identified.

The disease next appeared in 1975. A young Australian man who had been hitchhiking through central and central Africa died shortly after admission to a Johannesburg hospital.

His female traveling companion and a nurse who looked for him also contacted the disease and both survive.

In December 1998 a protracted epidemic of Marburg hemorrhagic fever virus, broke out in an isolated area of north-east Congo causing upward of 83% mortality among gold miners who have been working in bat infested caves.

Marburg viral RNA and antiviral IgG antibody were detected in a common species of fruit bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus, trapped in caves in Gabon in 2005 and 2006.

 The first case of Marburg hemorrhagic fever in the United States was detected in a traveler returning to Colorado from a trip to Uganda in January 2008.

He had visited the bat-infested ‘python cave in Queen Elizabeth Park. He recovered however, another visitor from Netherlands acquired a fatal case in July that year.
History of Marburg virus

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