What is Marburg? What you need to know about the deadly virus

World Health Organization officials have confirmed the first-ever Marburg virus outbreak in the Central African nation of Equatorial Guinea.

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According to the WHO, at least nine people have died from the virus.

Where does the virus come from, what are the symptoms of Marburg and should the US be worried about it? Here’s what we know now.

What is the Marburg virus?

The Marburg virus is a viral hemorrhagic fever, according to the CDC, meaning it’s a virus that affects many organ systems of the body and damages the overall cardiovascular system.

Where did it come from?

The virus comes from an animal-borne RNA virus. It’s believed to have been transmitted to people from African fruit bats.

How contagious is it?

Marburg is highly contagious and has a very high mortality rate of between 24 percent to 88 percent, according to the WHO.

How is it transmitted?

The virus is not airborne but is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids or with infected surfaces.

What are the symptoms of the Marburg virus?

According to the WHO, Symptoms include:

  • A high fever
  • Severe headache
  • Chills
  • Malaise
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain and diarrhea

A non-itchy rash on the chest, back or stomach can occur about five days after symptoms start.

How deadly is it?

Marburg, which is similar to the deadly Ebola virus, has fatality rates between 24 percent to 88 percent depending on the strain of the virus, according to the WHO,

How is it treated?

There are no drugs that are effective in treating the virus. Medical personnel treat individual symptoms.

Should people in the US be worried?

While the disease is highly contagious, it is very rare.

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