On Friday, the Saudi Public Health Authority “Prevention” revealed the methods of transmission of the Marburg virus from one person to another, or from animal to human, explaining the symptoms of the disease and ways to prevent it.
What is Marburg virus and what are its symptoms?
“Marburg” is a disease that affects humans, and the incubation of the virus is between two to 21 days after exposure to infection, according to the Saudi Public Health Authority, “prevention.”
The disease was first detected in 1967 after successive outbreaks occurred in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, and in Belgrade, Serbia, according to the National Institutes of Health.Global Health Organization“.
The Egyptian fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) is considered the natural host of the Marburg virus, from which the virus is then transmitted to people, and the case fatality rate reaches 88 percent, according to the World Health Organization.
The initial symptoms of the disease appear during a period of one to five days, and are represented by “loss of appetite, weakness, severe headache, abdominal pain, body or back pain, sudden fever, chills, feeling unwell, and watery diarrhea.”
As for late symptoms, they appear after the fifth day, and are represented in “nausea, diarrhea, bloody stools, bleeding or bruising, skin rashes, blood coming out of the mouth, nose, eye, or any other place where the skin is injured.”
How is it transmitted from animal to human?
Weqaya referred to two ways of transmission of Marburg virus from animal to human.
The first method is through “contacting with the blood, secretions, organs, or other fluids of an animal that was sick or died of infection with the disease.”
As for the second method, it is through “direct contact with things that carry the virus, such as: body fluids from a sick or dead animal.”
How is it transmitted from one person to another?
Regarding the methods of human-to-human transmission, Weqaya revealed two methods.
The first method is through touching body fluids such as “blood, urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, etc.” with a person infected with Marburg virus, whether alive or dead, and then touching the eyes, nose, mouth, or open wounds and scratches.
The second method is through direct contact with objects contaminated with the virus, such as “clothing, bedding, needles, and medical equipment.”
Marburg prevention tips
Wekaya provided several tips to travelers to prevent Marburg disease, and recommended avoiding unnecessary travel to endemic areas.
While traveling, she advised to avoid contact with things that may have come into contact with the infected person’s blood or body fluids, such as “clothing, bedding, needles, and medical equipment.”
It also advised avoiding contact with blood and body fluids such as “urine, feces, saliva, sweat, vomit and other fluids of all persons.”
Weqaya recommended that travelers avoid contact with dead and live animals, such as bats, monkeys, chimpanzees, blood, liquids, or raw meat prepared from these or other animals while traveling.
It also recommended avoiding contact with corpses, including participating in funerals or burials, and making sure to wash hands with soap and water, and if they are not available, hand sanitizer should be used.
And the Public Health Authority in Saudi Arabia advised the person who develops one of the symptoms while traveling to isolate himself immediately and seek medical care.
After returning from travel, Weqaya stressed the necessity of applying self-isolation immediately and seeking medical care if signs or symptoms of the disease appeared within 21 days of coming from travel from affected countries.
These signs and symptoms include fever, muscle aches, sore throat, diarrhea, weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, bleeding, or bruising.
The Public Health Authority in Saudi Arabia recommended avoiding traveling to Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania after the health authorities in the two countries announced that they had monitored an outbreak of Marburg virus disease, until the disease was controlled.