Is Marburg like Ebola? 4 ways the viruses are similar

November 9, 2017

Three people in Uganda and Kenya have been confirmed dead from a hemorrhagic virus called Marburg. According to the World Health Organization, Marburg virus outbreaks are rare and transmitted through “direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons or wild animals.” The last documented outbreak occurred in 2014 when a healthcare professional in Mpigi District, Central Uganda came in contact with the disease and died.

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Three people in Uganda and Kenya have been confirmed dead from a hemorrhagic virus called Marburg. According to the World Health Organization, Marburg virus outbreaks are rare and transmitted through “direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons or wild animals.” The last documented outbreak occurred in 2014 when a healthcare professional in Mpigi District, Central Uganda came in contact with the disease and died.

Marburg has been compared to Ebola, which also presents with hemorrhagic characteristics. Here are four ways Marburg and Ebola are similar.

1Marburg and Ebola have similar transmissions

Similar to how Ebola has been found in African monkeys and nonhuman sources, Marburg has been found in fruit bats and monkeys in Africa. Both are transmitted to humans through bodily fluids, such as blood or waste. Infected individuals generally do not become contagious until they display symptoms.

2Marburg and Ebola display the same deadly hemorrhagic symptoms

Symptoms of both Marburg and Ebola include, but aren’t limited to: fever, muscle aches and pains, diarrhea, fatigue, chills, nausea and vomiting, and external and internal bleeding. Bleeding generally occurs in the eyes, and, according to Mayo Clinic, can occur in the ears, nose, and rectum when the infected person is close to death.

3Marburg and Ebola have similar risk factors

For both Marburg and Ebola, the risk of contracting the diseases are only more likely when individuals travel to areas where outbreaks occur, such as Africa, conduct research on animals from Africa or the Philippines, or provide care for infected individuals. According to Mayo Clinic, family members providing medical or personal care for relatives are often at risk of transmission.

4Vaccinations for Marburg and Ebola are still in development

There are no current vaccinations for the Marburg virus, and while vaccinations for Ebola have been praised as promising, scientists are still working on the advancement of protection from the virus.

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