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Marburg virus particles, ~100,000x magnification
Virus classification
Group: Group V ((-)ssRNA)
Order: Mononegavirales
Family: Filoviridae


Filoviridae is the family of viruses that belong to the order Mononegavirales. Filoviruses are single stranded negative sense RNA viruses that target primates. There are two genera: the Ebola virus (Ebolavirus, with four species) [1] and Marburg virus (Marburgvirus). These viruses cause viral hemorrhagic fevers, characterized by bleeding and coagulation abnormalities, often leading to death.

Additional recommended knowledge


The virions (Filovirus particles) are characteristically shaped as long, cylindrical, filamentous particles that may be straight, curved, coiled, or found in a "6" or "U" shaped configuration. They are occasionally branched and the particles vary greatly in length but the diameter (about 80nm) is consistent. Production is by budding from an infected cell, and consists of the viral RNA strand and proteins encapsulated in a lipid membrane formed from the host cell's plasma membrane.  


The filoviridae family was discovered in 1967 when 31 people were infected with the Marburg virus in Marburg, Germany after working with tissue from monkeys imported from Uganda [2]. Seven people who caught the disease died. All subsequent outbreaks have occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. The second genus of the filoviridae family, Ebola virus, was discovered in 1976 when outbreaks occurred in northern Zaire and southern Sudan. The Ebola virus is a very potent virus, having a mortality rate of 50% up to 90% reported in some of the Zaire outbreaks.

The natural reservoir of both the Marburg virus and the Ebola virus appears to be zoonotic, which means that the virus is transmitted to humans from other animals. Despite numerous attempts to find the source of both the Marburg and Ebola viruses, neither has been found. Bats, though, have been suspected because they can replicate filoviridae-like viruses [3].

The mechanisms through which filoviruses spread are not fully understood. The route of transmission from animals to humans is unknown. Person-to-person transmission occurs primarily through physical contact with infected bodily fluids.


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  2. ^ Martini, GA, Knauff, HG, Schmidt, HA et al. A previously unknown infectious disease contracted from monkeys: Marburg virus disease. Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift 1968; 93(12):559–571.
  3. ^]
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Filoviridae". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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