Marburg hemorrhagic fever is a rare but severe hemorrhagic fever which affects both humans and non-human primates. It was first recognized in 1967 after simultaneous outbreaks in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). The virus is carried by the African fruit bat. These bats don’t show any symptoms of Marburg when they are infected but they can infect people and other primates, making them seriously ill. Cases are often fatal. Since Marburg was first identified, outbreaks have appeared sporadically throughout Africa. Laboratory confirmed cases have been reported in Uganda, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Angola, and South Africa. Some of the outbreaks started with male mine workers working in bat-infested mines. The virus is then transmitted within their communities through cultural practices, under-protected family care settings, and under-protected health care staff. Cases have also occurred outside Africa but they are infrequent and often tied to travelers who visited – and were infected – in Africa.
📷: CDC Public Health Image Library (phil.cdc.gov).
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