Ebola and Marburg are rare viral infections Overview of Viral Infections A virus is a tiny living organism. Viruses are so small they can be seen only with the most powerful microscopes. That's why they're called microorganisms (micro means very small). Other common... read more that cause fever and bleeding. Both viruses usually infect animals, not people. When they infect people they can be deadly.
The viruses infect people mainly in Central and West Africa
A few travelers (including health care workers) from other parts of the world have returned home from Africa with Ebola virus infection
Ebola and Marburg viruses spread very easily from person to person—you can get the virus from a sick person or a dead body
You can get either virus by touching an infected person’s skin or body fluids
Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, and later on severe vomiting and bleeding under your skin
Recovery takes a long time because the viruses can stay in the body for weeks
Ebola and Marburg viruses usually infect animals living in Central and West Africa. But once they infect people, they can spread rapidly. People can get infected by:
The virus is in almost all body fluids from infected people and animals. This includes blood, saliva, vomit, urine, stool, sweat, breast milk, and semen. You can also get the virus by touching things that have touched any of these fluids, like soiled clothing or bedding. That means you're at high risk if you are:
At first, you have symptoms that include:
Within a few days, you become much sicker and may have:
Belly pain, severe vomiting, and diarrhea, sometimes with blood in it—this can lead to dehydration (having too little water in your body)
Bleeding under your skin (purple spots or patches), from your mouth or nose, or from organs inside your body
A rash on your chest and belly
Coma (when you're unconscious and can't be woken up)
In the second week of sickness, people either start to get better or die because their organs stop working. People are more likely to die from Ebola than Marburg virus.
Doctors don’t have an antiviral medicine that cures Ebola or Marburg virus. Experimental medicines are being developed by researchers. Doctors treat the infection by:
Doctors will wear protective clothing and carefully isolate you to prevent spreading the infection to others.
Several vaccines and antiviral drugs are being developed. An Ebola vaccine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2019.
In parts of the world that have Ebola and Marburg virus, you should:
If you’re in an area where there’s an Ebola or Marburg virus outbreak:
If you’ve recently traveled to one of these areas, pay close attention to your health for 21 days and see a doctor right away if any symptoms develop.