Marburg virus disease


What are the symptoms of Marburg virus disease?

Symptoms can begin 2 to 21 days after exposure. The onset is sudden and the illness advances quickly.

Initial symptoms include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • headache
  • muscle pain

The disease progresses to include symptoms such as:

  • rash on chest, back and stomach
  • nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • chest and abdominal pain
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • swelling and pain in the stomach area
  • severe weight loss
  • delirium (possible restlessness and incoherent speech) and shock (cool clammy skin, weak pulse, may be nauseous)
  • haemorrhaging (bleeding from inside and/or outside the body)

Symptoms of Marburg virus disease are similar to those of other viral haemorrhagic fevers, such as Ebola disease, and of infectious diseases like malaria or typhoid. Diagnosis can be difficult, especially if only a single case is involved.

Some people who get infected with the Marburg virus are able to recover, although it may take a long time. According to the World Health Organization, 24 % to 88% of those infected with Marburg virus will die.

What to do if you become ill

Before visiting a doctor or a hospital, immediately call your public health authority if you have or if anyone in your household has:

  • any symptoms of Marburg virus disease


  • travelled to a Marburg virus disease affected area in the last 21 days

Describe your symptoms over the phone, tell them where you have been travelling or living and mention any possible exposure risks.

The public health authority will make appropriate arrangements for your medical assessment.

Follow the instructions provided to you by your public health authority and:

  • immediately separate yourself from those around you and do not have physical contact with people, household pets or other animals
  • wash your hands frequently, especially after vomiting or using the toilet
  • ensure that others do not come into contact with your body fluids, including:
    • blood
    • vomit
    • saliva
    • sweat
    • urine
    • feces
    • breast milk
    • semen
  • ensure that others do not come into contact with anything that may have come in contact with your body fluids, such as:
    • toilet
    • linens (e.g. bedding)
    • clothing
    • toiletries
    • medical equipment (e.g. thermometer)
  • other members of your household should not handle your waste, or perform any cleaning and disinfecting activities in your home
    • your public health authority will give you instructions on managing contaminated waste and properly cleaning and decontaminating your home

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