Encyclopedia of Common Pathogens

Marburg Virus

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Products recommended on this page carry the EPA's Emerging Viral Pathogens Claim

Disclaimer: The recommendations provided for products effective against Marburg Virus are based on their Emerging Viral Pathogens Claim. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has expanded this claim to include Marburg Virus, allowing certain disinfectants to be labeled as effective against emerging viral pathogens when specific testing against the virus is not available.

Marburg Virus is a highly infectious pathogen that belongs to the family Filoviridae, causing severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and non-human primates. The virus was first identified in 1967 when outbreaks occurred simultaneously in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, as well as in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) is characterized by a high fatality rate and can lead to significant public health concerns.


The primary mode of transmission of Marburg Virus is through direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or tissues of infected individuals or non-human primates. The virus can be transmitted through various means, including:

  1. Person-to-Person Transmission: Close contact with an infected individual’s blood, vomit, urine, saliva, or other bodily secretions can lead to transmission. This can occur during caregiving, direct physical contact, or exposure to contaminated medical equipment.
  2. Occupational Exposure: Healthcare workers, laboratory personnel, and others involved in handling or processing infected samples are at risk of acquiring the virus if proper safety precautions are not followed.
  3. Animal-to-Human Transmission: Contact with infected non-human primates, such as monkeys and apes, or their carcasses can result in transmission.


After an incubation period of 2 to 21 days, individuals infected with Marburg Virus may experience the following symptoms:

  1. Fever: High fever, often accompanied by chills and sweats, is a common early symptom.
  2. Hemorrhagic Manifestations: Profuse bleeding, both internally and externally, can occur. This may present as bleeding from the gums, nosebleeds, bloody diarrhea, or bleeding into the skin (purpura). Hemorrhagic manifestations are a distinguishing feature of Marburg Virus infection.
  3. Severe Headache: Intense headaches, often described as severe and debilitating, are frequently reported.
  4. Muscle and Joint Pain: Individuals may experience severe muscle and joint pain, leading to discomfort and reduced mobility.
  5. Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain may occur, often accompanied by diarrhea.
  6. Respiratory Distress: Respiratory symptoms such as cough, chest pain, and difficulty breathing may develop as the disease progresses.

Affected Industries: Unlike some other pathogens, Marburg Virus primarily affects human populations and non-human primates. The virus does not have a direct impact on specific industries. However, outbreaks of Marburg Virus can result in significant disruptions to healthcare systems, laboratory operations, and public health infrastructure due to the need for isolation and containment measures.

Emerging Viral Pathogens Claim:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has expanded the scope of the Emerging Viral Pathogens claim to include Marburg Virus. This claim allows certain disinfectants to be labeled as effective against emerging viral pathogens when there is a lack of available testing against the specific virus. It provides a mechanism for manufacturers to communicate efficacy claims in response to emerging public health concerns.

It is important to note that Marburg Virus is a serious public health threat, and appropriate precautions should be taken to prevent transmission and to promptly respond to suspected cases. Strict infection control measures, including personal protective equipment (PPE) use, isolation of infected individuals, and proper disinfection protocols, are vital in preventing the spread of the virus and minimizing its impact on public health.

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