Marburg Virus Confirmed in Colorado

Michael Santo's picture

The first U.S. case of Marburg hemorraghic fever has been confirmed in Colorado, U.S. authorities have said.

Marburg is similar to the dreaded Ebola virus, but it is not as deadly. Despite that, it is still quite virulent. It is a member of the filovirus family; the five species of Ebola virus are the only other known members of the filovirus family.

Marburg virus was first recognized in 1967. Outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). Marburg is indigenous to Africa, however.

The patient, who contracted the disease while traveling in Uganda, has since recovered.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesman Dave Daigle said no previous cases have been reported in the United States.

Although the exact way the patient received the virus is unknown, the pathogen is frequently transmitted in caves via contact with fecal matter or other material from infected bats. The patient had traveled to Uganda and visited a python cave in Maramagambo Forest in Queen Elizabeth Park. The Ugandan government closed the cave after a tourist from the Netherlands died from Marburg in July.

The patient was first treated in Jan. 2008, but it wasn't until last December that the disease was confirmed.

According to the CDC website, the symptoms of Marburg are:

After an incubation period of 5-10 days, the onset of the disease is sudden and is marked by fever, chills, headache, and myalgia. Around the fifth day after the onset of symptoms, a maculopapular rash, most prominent on the trunk (chest, back, stomach), may occur. Nausea, vomiting, chest pain, a sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea then may appear. Symptoms become increasingly severe and may include jaundice, inflammation of the pancreas, severe weight loss, delirium, shock, liver failure, and multi-organ dysfunction.

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