CDC issues warning on potentially fatal Marburg virus

Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 10:23 AM CDT
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(CNN) - A rare but potentially deadly virus, similar to Ebola, is currently causing outbreaks in two African nations, and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health advisory.

There are no known cases of the Marburg virus and the current risk is low in the U.S., but the CDC is warning doctors to be on the lookout for anyone with symptoms.

“Marburg virus is in the same family as Ebola virus, and it can cause a very, very severe and fatal disease,” Cleveland Clinic’s Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Kristin Englund said.

Englund said the illness is not contagious until symptoms appear. These can include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal issues and unexplained bleeding.

Right now, the Marburg virus outbreaks have only been identified in two African nations - Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania. The CDC says there is no evidence that the two outbreaks are related.

In March, the CDC warned travelers to the two countries to avoid contact with sick people and to monitor their health for three weeks after visiting.

The Marburg virus can spread through contact with an infected person’s blood or other bodily fluids or through fluids from infected animals.

It does not spread through the air like the coronavirus.

“We all need to be aware. Not afraid, but certainly aware of what’s out there,” Englund said.

If travel cannot be avoided to the areas in Africa where there are known outbreaks, the CDC says not to have contact with fruit bats and primates in those places. Both animals are known to be carriers of the virus.