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Colorized Marburg virus particles viewed with a transmission electron microscope

Marburg hemorrhagic fever (Marburg HF) is a rare, severe type of hemorrhagic fever which affects both humans and non-human primates. Caused by a genetically unique zoonotic (that is, animal-borne) RNA virus of the filovirus family, its recognition led to the creation of this virus family. The five subtypes of Ebola virus are the only other known members of the filovirus family.

Marburg virus was first recognized in 1967, when outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). A total of 31 people became ill; they included laboratory workers as well as several medical personnel and family members who had cared for them. There were 7 deaths among the reported cases. The first people infected had been exposed to African green monkeys or their tissues. In Marburg, the monkeys had been imported for research and to prepare polio vaccine. In addition to the 31 cases, an additional primary case was retrospectively serologically diagnosed.

Content Credit: CDC
Photo Credit: Image courtesy of Dr. Tom Geisbert.

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