Global Preparedness for Marburg and Ebola Virus Outbreaks
The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has reminded us of the importance of preparedness and rapid response in the face of emerging infectious diseases.
The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has reminded us of the importance of preparedness and rapid response in the face of emerging infectious diseases. While COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, it is important to remember that other deadly viruses, such as Marburg and Ebola, also pose a significant threat to global health. In this blog post, we will analyze how countries around the world are preparing for potential outbreaks of Marburg and Ebola viruses.
What are Marburg and Ebola viruses?
Marburg virus (MARV) is a hemorrhagic fever virus of the Filoviridae family of viruses and a member of the species Marburg marburgvirus, genus Marburgvirus. It causes Marburg virus disease in primates, a form of viral hemorrhagic fever. The virus is considered to be extremely dangerous, and the World Health Organization (WHO) rates it as a Risk Group 4 Pathogen (requiring biosafety level 4-equivalent containment). In the United States, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ranks it as a Category A Priority Pathogen and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists it as a Category A Bioterrorism Agent. It is also listed as a biological agent for export control by the Australia Group.
Like Marburg virus, Ebola virus is also a member of the Filoviridae family of viruses and causes viral hemorrhagic fever. Ebola virus is classified into five subtypes, four of which can cause disease in humans: Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus), Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus), Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d'Ivoire ebolavirus), and Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus). Ebola virus is also a Risk Group 4 Pathogen and a Category A Priority Pathogen and Bioterrorism Agent.
Both Marburg and Ebola viruses can be transmitted by exposure to one species of fruit bats or they can be transmitted between people via body fluids through unprotected sex and broken skin. The diseases can cause haemorrhage, fever, and other symptoms similar to each other. According to the WHO, there are no approved vaccines or antiviral treatment for Marburg, but early, professional treatment of symptoms like dehydration considerably increases survival chances.
In 2009, expanded clinical trials of an Ebola and Marburg vaccine began in Kampala, Uganda.
How are countries around the world preparing for potential outbreaks?
The United States is a leader in global efforts to combat infectious diseases, and the country has made significant investments in research and preparedness for potential outbreaks of Marburg and Ebola viruses. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the primary U.S. government agency responsible for conducting and supporting research on infectious diseases.
NIAID has developed and tested several vaccine candidates for Marburg and Ebola viruses, including the rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP vaccine, which was used in the 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition, NIAID has developed diagnostic tests to detect Marburg and Ebola viruses, and the agency is working to develop antiviral drugs to treat these diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is another key U.S. agency involved in preparedness for potential outbreaks of Marburg and Ebola viruses. The CDC has established an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate its response to infectious disease outbreaks, and the agency has deployed personnel to countries affected by Marburg and Ebola outbreaks to provide technical assistance and support.
The linked articles below can help you as you seek to learn more about Marburg Virus and Ebola:
- Marburg and Ebola: A Case for Increased Funding for Research and Preparedness
- Marburg and Ebola: A Comparison of the Economic Costs of Outbreaks
- Marburg and Ebola: The Psychological Impact on Survivors
- Global Preparedness for Marburg and Ebola Virus Outbreaks
- Marburg and Ebola: The Role of Healthcare Workers
- Marburg and Ebola: A Comparison of Global Response Efforts
- Marburg and Ebola: Lessons Learned from Past Outbreaks
- The Socioeconomic Impact of Marburg and Ebola Outbreaks
- The Ethics of Research on Marburg and Ebola Viruses
- Marburg and Ebola: A Study of Their Genetic Makeup
- The Role of Bats in the Transmission of Marburg and Ebola Viruses
- Marburg and Ebola: Similarities and Differences in Symptoms and Treatment
- Outbreaks of Marburg Virus and Ebola: A Historical Comparison