Marburg Virus Disease
Marburg Virus Disease
Last update: 2023-06-21
Transmission: Direct and indirect contact
- Prolonged contact with fruit bat colonies
- Contact with the blood, faeces, vomit, spit, sweat, tears, breastmilk or semen from a person sick with Marburg
- Contact can be with objects that have been contaminated with the body fluids from a person who is sick with Marburg (for example, bedding, clothes or needles)
- When handling the body of someone who has died from Marburg
- Coming into contact with semen (for example, through sex) from someone who has recovered from Marburg (safe sex, with condoms, should be practiced for 12 months after recovery)
- Mother-to-child during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding is possible
Most vulnerable to severe consequences
- Every person in the community is vulnerable to Marburg (** it is a deadly disease that can kill many – about half of all people who get infected can die **)
Most vulnerable to contracting the disease
- Family and relatives of people who are sick (or who have died) from Marburg
- Health workers, volunteers and people who handle dead bodies
- Sudden and high fever
- Severe headache
- Feeling unwell
- Muscle aches and pains (sometimes)
- Abdominal cramps (sometimes)
- Nausea and vomiting (sometimes)
- Watery diarrhoea (sometimes)
- Rash (sometimes)
- Bruising under the skin and bleeding from the nose, vagina, gums (sometimes)
- Blood in vomit and/or faeces (sometimes)
- Confusion, irritability, aggression (sometimes)
What can you do to prevent and control an epidemic?
Monitoring the community and identifying sick people
- Identify and immediately isolate sick people
Treatment and management
- Immediately refer suspected cases to treatment centres
- Provide safe transport for suspected cases
- Support contact tracing and follow-up of contacts
- Provide psychosocial support to the sick person, their families and communities
- Support safe and dignified funeral and burial practices
Sanitation and waste management
- Dispose safely of waste that might be contaminated (by burning or burying)
- Disinfect homes and personal belongings of people who are sick or have died
- Promote disinfection of reusable supplies
- Solid waste management
- Encourage the community to clear away rubbish and garbage
Personal protection and hygiene
- Promote handwashing with soap, chlorine solution or hand sanitizer
- Practise and promote social distancing
- Use personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, clothing) when in contact with potential cases
- Promote wearing gloves, masks and other appropriate protective clothing when working in mines or caves inhabited by fruit bat colonies
- Avoid touching sick or dead fruit bats, their faeces and other waste products
Food hygiene and safety
- Promote cooking bushmeat or animal products (blood and meat) thoroughly
Social mobilization and behaviour change
- Find out the specific advice being given by health and other relevant authorities
- Promote the use of condoms for at least 12 months after a diagnosis of Marburg or until their semen tests negative twice for the virus
- Promote the safe disposal (burning or burying) of contaminated materials
- Promote social distancing
- Model following this advice and inform community members of current health practice advice
- Offer support and encouragement to follow the advice
- Try to gain understanding about if and why health practice advice is not being followed
- With the guidance of your supervisor and health authorities, work with communities to overcome barriers to following health advice and recommended practices
- Involve the community in managing rumours and misinformation
- Ensure safe and dignified burials (discuss with your manager to follow national protocols and guidance)
Mapping and community assessment
- Make a map of the community.
- Mark the following information on the map:
- How many people have fallen sick with Marburg? Where?
- How many people have died? Where? When?
- Where are the local health facilities and services? (include traditional healers)
- Where do people obtain their drinking water?
- Record the following information on the back of the map:
- When did people start to fall sick with Marburg?
- How many people live in the affected community?
- How many are children under five years?
- How many pregnant women live in the affected areas?
- What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about caring for sick people? Consider any differences in roles and responsibilities between women and men.
- What are the community’s burial traditions, funeral procedures and practices? Who traditionally prepares bodies for burials? Consider any differences in roles and responsibilities between women and men.
- Do people in the community know about Marburg?
- Do people know the main signs of Marburg?
- Do they know what to do if someone becomes sick (for example phone number to call, actions to take)?
- Do people know how to protect themselves from Marburg?
- Is a social mobilization or health promotion programme in place?
- Are people in the community socially distancing? Why? Why not?
- Which sources do people use/trust the most for information?
- Are there rumours or misinformation about Marburg? What are the rumours?
- Are health workers, volunteers or people who have survived Marburg stigmatized, left out, threatened or harassed?
- What are the main effects on them and their lives?