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Diagnosis

man in a laboratory looking into a microscopeMany of the signs and symptoms of Marburg hemorrhagic fever are similar to those of other more frequent infectious diseases, such as malaria or typhoid fever, making diagnosis of the disease difficult. This is especially true if only a single case is involved.

However, if a person has the early symptoms of Marburg HF and there is reason to believe that Marburg HF should be considered, the patient should be isolated and public health professionals notified. Samples from the patient can then be collected and tested to confirm infection.

Antigen-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and IgM-capture ELISA can be used to confirm a case of Marburg HF within a few days of symptom onset. Virus isolation may also be performed but should only be done in a high containment laboratory with good laboratory practices. The IgG-capture ELISA is appropriate for testing persons later in the course of disease or after recovery. In deceased patients, immunohistochemistry, virus isolation, or PCR of blood or tissue specimens may be used to diagnose Marburg HF retrospectively.

 
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