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Marburg Virus Disease Update


Between February and March 2023, two Sub-Saharan African countries, Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania, reported the first case of Marburg virus disease, with a case fatality rate of more than 60%1,2. Because these are the countries that have never had any previous cases despite being in endemic areas, it may be a wake-up call to renewed interest in filoviruses, providing an unprecedented impetus to the development of new therapeutics and vaccines for this highly lethal infection3,4.

This event highlights the ongoing risk that Marburg virus disease may pose to the community.


  • Marburg virus disease (MVD) is a rare but highly infectious disease caused by the Marburg virus, which is a member of the Filoviridae family. The virus was first identified in 1967 during an outbreak in Marburg, Germany, and has since been associated with sporadic outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa (Table 1)3.
  • The epidemiology of MVD is characterized by sporadic outbreaks, with the majority of cases occurring in sub- Saharan Africa. Outbreaks of the disease are often associated with the handling of infected animals, such as fruit bats and primates, or with contact with bodily fluids of infected humans4
  • The incubation period of Marburg virus disease is typically 5-10 days, with symptoms appearing suddenly and progressing rapidly. The disease is highly infectious and can be transmitted through close contact with infected individuals or their bodily fluids, such as blood, saliva, and vomit.
  • The mortality rate for Marburg virus disease is high, ranging from 24% to 88%, depending on the outbreak and the quality of care received by the patient. There is currently no specific treatment for the disease, and supportive care is the mainstay of treatment 5.

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