1967 Marburg virus outbreak in West Germany

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1967 Marburg virus outbreak in West Germany

The 1967 Marburg virus outbreak in West Germany was a significant event in the history of virology and epidemiology, marking the first recorded outbreak of the Marburg virus. The virus, a member of the Filoviridae family, is closely related to the Ebola virus, and like Ebola, it causes severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and non-human primates.

Background[edit | edit source]

The Marburg virus was first identified during an outbreak in Marburg, West Germany (now Germany), in 1967. The outbreak was traced back to laboratories in Marburg, Frankfurt and Belgrade, where workers were exposed to tissues and cell cultures from African green monkeys imported from Uganda.

Outbreak[edit | edit source]

The outbreak began in August 1967 and lasted until late December of the same year. A total of 31 people were infected, including laboratory workers, their family members, and medical personnel who had cared for the infected individuals. Of these, seven died, resulting in a case fatality rate of approximately 23%.

Aftermath and Impact[edit | edit source]

The 1967 Marburg virus outbreak had a profound impact on the field of virology and epidemiology. It led to increased scrutiny of laboratory practices and the handling of non-human primate tissues. The event also highlighted the potential for viruses to spread from animals to humans, a concept known as zoonosis.

The Marburg virus continues to be a subject of research, particularly in the development of vaccines and treatments for hemorrhagic fevers. The virus is classified as a Biosafety level 4 pathogen, the highest level, indicating it poses a high risk of infection and can cause severe disease in humans.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD