What are filoviruses and how they affect us



In 1967 a severe infectious illness broke out among laboratory workers in Marburg, West Germany, who had handled tissues from a batch of vervet monkeys imported from Uganda.In 1976 outbreaks of the disease occurred in Sudan and Zaira from a focus on the Ebola River. The viruses causing these two outbreaks were structurally identical but antigenically distinct. In 1995 a further outbreak of Ebola disease occurred in Zaire with a 77% mortality. It is believed there is an unknown animal reservoir from which virus can be transmitted to primates and humans. Sporadic cases have occurred elsewhere in Africa. In person-to-person outbreaks the mortality is high, but successive human passage seems to reduce virulence. The incubation period is 5-9 days.

The illness presents suddenly with fever, severe myalgia and diarrhoea, followed by pharyngitis, generalised erythematous rash and lymphadenopathy. Fatal complications include haemorrhage, secondary infection, encephalitis, renal failure and pneumonia.


The term 'haemorrhagic fevers', while popular, covers too broad a field of diseases to be of great value. Hence,in addition to the different families of viruses which cause haemorrhagic fever, covered in this chapter and other non-viral infections are associated with haemorrhagic features, as listed in the information box.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Meningococcaemia, plague
  • Gram-negative septicaemia
Relapsing fever
African trypanosomiasis
Concepts of infection
Major manifestations of infection
Principles of management of infection
Diseases due to viruses
DNA viruses
Diseases due to chlamydiae
Diseases due to rickettsiae
Diseases due to bacteria
  • Streptococcal infections
  • Staphylococcal infections
  • Corynebacterial infections
  • Bacillus infections
  • Bordetella infections
  • Salmonella infections
  • Food poisoning
  • Dysentery
  • Other true bacterial infections
  • Mycobacterial infections
Diseases due to spirochaetes
  • Leptospira infections
  • Borrelia infections
  • Treponema infections
Diseases due to fungi (mycoses)
  • Cutaneous fungal infections
  • Subcutaneous fungal infections
  • Systemic fungal infections
Diseases due to protozoa
Diseases due to helminths
  • Trematode (fluke) infections
  • Cestode (tapeworm) infections
  • Nematode (roundworm) infections
  • Zoonotic helminth infections
Diseases due to arthropods
Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Sexually transmitted bacterial diseases
  • Sexually transmitted viral diseases
  • Miscellaneous conditions