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      Marburg virus

      Latest update: - Authors: Ula Maniewski, Nele Alders

      A Marburg virus infection is a rare and potentially fatal disease caused by the Marburg virus.

      The following symptoms may occur between 2 and 21 days after infection:

      • headache
      • muscle pain
      • high fever

      These are sometimes followed by:

      • vomiting
      • diarrhoea
      • red skin rashes
      • (fatal) bleeding

      Infection can occur through direct contact with infected persons, bats or (great) monkeys and their body fluids.

      The virus can remain present in certain body fluids, such as semen, after recovery for a prolonged period of time.

      Health care workers and family members of patients are at high risk of infection. For travellers the risk is very low.

      There is no specific treatment available.

      Risk areas

      The Marburg virus has been reported in several African countries. Outbreaks have been described in Angola, Congo (Democratic Republic), Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

      Prevention

      Hygiene

      Wash your hands with soap after making contact with people or objects in a public area.

      Infected persons

      Avoid contact with blood and other body fluids of (potentially) infected persons and objects that came into contact with them.

      Semen

      Avoid contact with semen from a cured person for 12 months after infection, or until a test confirms that the semen is negative.

      Animals

      Avoid contact with bats and their droppings. 

      Avoid places where there are many bats, such as their roosts.

      Avoid contact with other animals, especially (great) apes.

      Food

      Avoid contact with bushmeat and in particular bats and (great) apes.

      Vaccination

      There is no vaccine available for travellers.

      In case of symptoms

      In case of fever or illness within 21 days of returning from a country where Marburg fever is present, or after contact with someone infected with Marburg fever: contact by phone immediately.

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