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Multiple Genetic Varients Clue To Source Of Deadly Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak

Date:
October 3, 2006
Source:
Tulane University
Summary:
Daniel G. Bausch, associate professor of Tropical Medicine at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and an international team of researchers identified multiple genetic variants of virus in an outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998--2000, pointing to exposure to a host reservoir in mines as a possible source of the disease.

Daniel G. Bausch, associate professor of Tropical Medicine at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
Credit: Image courtesy of Tulane University

Bats or other cave dwelling animals may have been responsible for the deadly 1998--2000 outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever among gold miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to an article in the Aug. 31, 2006, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Daniel G. Bausch, associate professor of Tropical Medicine at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and an international team of researchers identified multiple genetic variants of the virus in the outbreak, meaning the fever may have been spread directly to humans by the host animals. Marburg hemorrhagic fever, a severe filovirus-caused disease related to Ebola, was first identified in European research facilities in 1967 after outbreaks traced to infected monkeys imported from Uganda. Only a few sporadic cases were reported until the 1998--2000 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The team recorded a fatality rate of 83 percent for that outbreak. Young male miners comprised 52 percent of the cases, suggesting that exposure in underground mines was a factor in the spread of the disease. The discovery of multiple different genetic variants of the virus indicates that the two-year outbreak was fueled by repeated new introductions of the virus into humans from the primary reservoir, rather than simply a single introduction followed by person-to-person spread.

Bausch's study enhances our understanding of Marburg virus, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list as a "select agent" that may potentially be used in bioterrorism. There is currently no approved treatment or vaccine for the disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tulane University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Tulane University. "Multiple Genetic Varients Clue To Source Of Deadly Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060915203221.htm>.
Tulane University. (2006, October 3). Multiple Genetic Varients Clue To Source Of Deadly Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060915203221.htm
Tulane University. "Multiple Genetic Varients Clue To Source Of Deadly Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060915203221.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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