Clinical diagnosis of Marburg virus disease (MVD) can be difficult. Many of the signs and symptoms of MVD are similar to other infectious diseases (such as malaria, typhoid fever, or dengue) or viral hemorrhagic fevers that may be endemic in the area (such as Lassa fever or Ebola). This is especially true if only a single case is involved.
If a person has early symptoms of MVD and a possible exposure to Marburg virus, 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 MVD 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 MVD retrospectively.