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Volume 23, Number 10—October 2017
Etymologia

Etymologia: Marburg Virus

Ronnie HenryComments to Author  and Frederick A. Murphy

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Marburg [mahrʹboork] Virus

In August and September 1967, an outbreak of a viral hemorrhagic fever occurred among laboratory workers in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, and Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) who were processing kidneys from African green monkeys that had been imported from Uganda. (These kidneys were used in the production of polio vaccine.) Of 25 primary and 6 secondary cases, 7 were fatal.

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Thumbnail of Negative contrast electron microscopy of Marburg virus, from original monkey kidney cell culture propagation done at CDC in 1967, magnification ≈40,000x. Image courtesy of Frederick A. Murphy.

Figure. Negative contrast electron microscopy of Marburg virus, from original monkey kidney cell culture propagation done at CDC in 1967, magnification ≈40,000x. Image courtesy of Frederick A. Murphy.

A new virus, named Marburg virus, was isolated from patients and monkeys, and the high case-fatality ratio called for the best biocontainment of the day (Figure). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) borrowed a mobile containment laboratory from the National Institutes of Health and set it up in the CDC parking lot; it provided approximately biosafety level 2+ containment. A few isolated, sporadic cases were reported in the following decades until a 1998 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo affected 154 people with a case-fatality ratio of 83%, and a 2004 outbreak in Angola affected 227 people with a case-fatality ratio of 90%.

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References

  1. Siegert  R, Shu  HL, Slenczka  W, Peters  D, Müller  G. [On the etiology of an unknown human infection originating from monkeys] [in German]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 1967;92:23413. DOIPubMed
  2. Kissling  RE, Robinson  RQ, Murphy  FA, Whitfield  SG. Agent of disease contracted from green monkeys. Science. 1968;160:88890. DOIPubMed
  3. Kissling  RE, Murphy  FA, Henderson  BE. Marburg virus. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1970;174(2 Unusual Isola):93245. DOIPubMed
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About Marburg hemorrhagic fever [cited 2017 Mar 31]. https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/marburg/about.html

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Figure

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2310.et2310

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Table of Contents – Volume 23, Number 10—October 2017

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Ronnie Henry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop E03, Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA

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Page created: September 18, 2017
Page updated: September 18, 2017
Page reviewed: September 18, 2017
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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