Ebolavirus, Marburgvirus (Filoviridae)

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Ebola virus and Marburg virus are enveloped, negative-sense, single-stranded, helical RNA viruses in the Filoviridae family. These viruses are believed to originate from direct contact with infected animals, particularly primates, monkeys, and fruit bats, and are associated with severe outbreaks of disease in humans.

Both Marburg virus and Ebola virus cause very similar symptoms. Initial symptoms can resemble those of other illnesses, such as fever, sweating, and rash, often accompanied by rashes. As the disease progresses, infected individuals may experience hemorrhagic fever, marked by severe blood loss, organ failure, and ultimately death due to hypovolemic shock. High-risk groups include individuals living in or visiting endemic areas and healthcare workers treating infected patients. These filoviruses are highly dangerous and lethal, necessitating extreme caution and effective protective measures in handling and treating infected individuals.

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What are the main differences between the Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus?

Although both Ebola virus and Marburg virus belong to the Filoviridae family and are negative-sense RNA viruses, they differ in their geographical distribution and some aspects of their pathology. Ebola virus has primarily caused outbreaks in Western and Central Africa, while Marburg virus has caused outbreaks in Eastern and Southern Africa. Moreover, certain Ebola virus species can cause more severe disease with a higher fatality rate compared to the Marburg virus.

What are the symptoms of Ebola virus and Marburg virus?

Both Ebola virus and Marburg virus cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans, with similar initial symptoms including fever, chills, severe headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. As the diseases progress, individuals can develop stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function. In severe cases, internal and external bleeding can occur which often leads to death.

What was the most significant outbreak of Ebola in recent years?

The most significant Ebola outbreak in recent years occurred in West Africa from 2014 to 2016. The outbreak spanned multiple countries and resulted in over 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths, making it by far the largest and most severe Ebola outbreak in history. It exposed the lack of preparedness for such grave health emergencies at both national and international levels. This Ebola event has since triggered efforts to improve disease surveillance, response strategies, and vaccine development.

What the reservoir for Ebola virus and Marburg virus?

The natural reservoir of the Filoviridae family, including Ebola virus and Marburg virus, is believed to be fruit bats. These bats can harbor the virus without getting sick and spread the virus to other animals, such as primates, which then can transmit the virus to humans. Humans can also become infected directly by bats through exposure to bat feces, urine, or saliva, or through bites. Once a human is infected, the virus can be transmitted from person to person, leading to outbreaks.