African fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) flying outside a cave and observation platform in western Uganda.
It is unknown how Marburg virus first transmits from its animal host to humans; however, for the 2 cases in tourists visiting Uganda in 2008, unprotected contact with infected bat feces or aerosols are the most likely routes of infection.
After this initial crossover of virus from host animal to humans, transmission occurs through person-to-person contact. This may happen in several ways: direct contact to droplets of body fluids from infected persons, or contact with equipment and other objects contaminated with infectious blood or tissues.
In previous outbreaks, persons who have handled infected non-human primates or have come in direct contact with their fluids or cell cultures have become infected. Spread of the virus between humans has occurred in close environments and direct contacts. A common example is through caregivers in the home or in a hospital (nosocomial transmission).
- Page last reviewed: December 1, 2014
- Page last updated: December 1, 2014
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