April 7, 2023 – The CDC has issued a health advisory about an outbreak of the Marburg virus disease in two African nations, Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania. While it has not been found in the United States, doctors "should be aware of the potential for imported cases,” the agency warned.
Infection from the virus is rare but can be fatal. If U.S. health officials think somebody is infected with the Marburg virus, they should check the person’s travel history and isolate the person until a negative test comes back, the CDC said.
Marburg virus, which is similar to Ebola, is not contagious until symptoms appear, the CDC said. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, gut symptoms, or unexplained bleeding.
The illness is spread through contact with blood and other bodily fluids of an infected person, not through the air. It has a mortality rate of 23% to 90%, though these rates may go down with intensive supportive care, according to the CDC.
There is no vaccine for Marburg approved by the FDA. At a recent news conference, the World Health Organization said it is working on Marburg vaccine trials and a committee has reviewed evidence for four vaccines.
On Feb. 7, Equatorial Guinea health officials reported a cluster of deaths in two villages, the CDC said. Then, on March 21, Tanzanian health officials announced an outbreak with eight laboratory-confirmed cases, five which resulted in death. There’s no evidence the outbreaks are related, the CDC said.
About a month ago, the CDC sent medical personnel to Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania to battle the outbreaks and warned U.S. travelers to take precautions, such as avoiding sick people in those nations.