Marburg virus disease

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Marburg virus disease?

Symptoms can begin 5 to 10 days after exposure. The onset is sudden and the illness advances quickly.

Initial symptoms include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • headache
  • muscle pain

After 5 – 7 days, additional symptoms include:

  • 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)
  • massive haemorrhaging (bleeding from inside and outside the body)

Symptoms of Marburg virus disease are similar to those of other viral haemorrhagic fevers, such as Ebola, 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, 25% to 88% of those infected with Marburg virus will die.

What to do if you become ill

Call a health care provider immediately:

  • if you or anyone in your household has travelled to an area where there is a confirmed Marburg virus outbreak, and
  • you are showing some of the above symptoms

Describe your symptoms over the phone before your appointment, so that health care staff can arrange to see you safely without potentially exposing themselves or others to the virus.

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