"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

June 13, 2010

June 13 - Marburg virus

In 1967, in the German town of Marburg, 31 people became very ill with a strange new disease - 7 of them died. Many of the people who had become ill were involved with research on polio vaccines and were exposed to monkeys that had been originally imported from Uganda. The culprit was a virus, and it came to be known as Marburg virus, after the town. Marburg was the first filovirus to be discovered and is closely related to Ebola virus. It is transmitted from primate to person or person to person via exposure to infected body fluids such as blood or saliva and can produce rather horrific symptoms, including jaundice, delirium, and liver failure, as well as hemorrhaging. Untreated, it can have a fatality rate of as high as 90%. In 2008, the first case in the U.S. was reported, though the patient acquired the virus in Uganda. Vaccines are currently being developed.

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