Marburg Virus Disease

Disease database

Marburg Virus Disease is a highly infectious and severe illness caused by the Marburg virus. It belongs to the same family as the Ebola virus and is characterized by a range of symptoms including fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain, cough, sore throat, rash, and bleeding from gums, nose, and anus. The disease was first identified in 1967 during outbreaks in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, as well as in Belgrade, Serbia. Since then, sporadic cases and outbreaks have occurred in various parts of the world, primarily in Africa.

Fever, Headache, and Muscle Pain

The initial symptoms of Marburg Virus Disease are similar to those of many other viral infections. Patients often experience a sudden onset of fever, accompanied by severe headache and muscle pain. These symptoms can be mistaken for common illnesses such as the flu, making early diagnosis challenging. However, it is crucial to seek medical attention if these symptoms persist or worsen.

Weakness, Fatigue, and Gastrointestinal Symptoms

As the disease progresses, individuals infected with the Marburg virus may experience weakness and fatigue. They may also develop gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. These symptoms can lead to dehydration and further complications if not properly managed. It is essential to stay hydrated and seek medical care to prevent further deterioration.

Chest Pain, Cough, and Sore Throat

Marburg Virus Disease can also affect the respiratory system, causing symptoms such as chest pain, cough, and sore throat. These respiratory symptoms can be severe and may lead to respiratory distress. It is crucial to monitor respiratory symptoms closely and seek immediate medical attention if breathing difficulties arise.

Rash and Bleeding

One of the distinguishing features of Marburg Virus Disease is the development of a rash, which can occur in some patients. The rash may appear as small, red spots or patches on the skin. Additionally, individuals infected with the Marburg virus may experience bleeding from the gums, nose, and anus. This bleeding can be severe and life-threatening. Immediate medical care is necessary to manage bleeding and prevent further complications.

Treatment and Prevention

Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment for Marburg Virus Disease. Supportive care is the primary approach, focusing on managing symptoms and providing relief. This includes maintaining hydration, controlling fever, and addressing complications such as bleeding and organ failure. Patients with severe cases may require intensive care and specialized medical interventions.

Prevention plays a crucial role in controlling the spread of Marburg Virus Disease. The following measures can help reduce the risk of infection:

  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick or have symptoms of the disease.
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, when caring for infected individuals or handling potentially contaminated materials.
  • Follow proper infection control practices in healthcare settings to prevent nosocomial transmission.
  • Participate in public health initiatives, such as vaccination campaigns, when available.


Marburg Virus Disease is a severe and potentially fatal illness caused by the Marburg virus. Early recognition of symptoms and prompt medical care are essential for improving outcomes. While there is no specific cure for the disease, supportive care can help manage symptoms and prevent complications. Prevention through good hygiene practices and adherence to infection control measures is crucial in controlling the spread of the virus. By staying informed and taking necessary precautions, individuals can protect themselves and their communities from this deadly disease.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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