Marburg haemorrhagic fever: recent advances
Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are a group of etiologically diverse viral diseases unified by common underlying pathophysiology. These febrile diseases result from infection by viruses from four viral families: Arenaviridae, Bunyaviridae, Filoviridae, and Flaviviridae. The viruses in the four families are all RNA viruses. All share the feature of having a lipid envelope. Survival and perpetuation of the viruses is dependent on an animal host known as a natural reservoir, but humans are not the natural reservoir. With the exception of a vaccine for yellow fever and ribavirin, which is used for treatment of some arenaviral infections, no specific chemotherapy for viral hemorrhagic fever exists. Only supportive treatment is possible The filoviruses, Marburg virus (MARV) and Ebola virus (EBOV), have been associated with hemorrhagic fever (HF) that produce severe disease and high mortality rates among infected humans and non-human primates. MARV and EBOV are also considered potential biological weapons. Although much progress has been made in developing preventive vaccines and postexposure interventions that can protect laboratory animals and nonhuman primates against lethal challenge with MARV, none of these has been approved for humans. Because MARV haemorrhagic fever, when it occurs, has the potential to spread to other people especially health care staff and family members who care for the patient, there is need for periodic review of recent developments relating especially to its diagnosis and treatment. This would help to increase awareness among health-care providers and limit the spread of the disease during outbreaks.
Keywords: Marburg virus, viral haemorrhagic fever, recent advances