Marburg virus disease
Human infection with Marburg virus disease (MVD) initially results from prolonged exposure to mines or caves inhabited by Rousettus bat colonies.
Once an individual is infected with the virus, Marburg can spread through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.
The incubation period (the time that passes from infection to onset of symptoms) varies from 2 to 21 days.
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Signs and symptoms
Approximately 33% of people with influenza are asymptomatic.
Symptoms of influenza can start quite suddenly one to two days after infection. Usually the first symptoms are chills and body aches, but fever is also common early in the infection, with body temperatures ranging from 38 to 39 °C (approximately 100 to 103 °F). Many people are so ill that they are confined to bed for several days, with aches and pains throughout their bodies, which are worse in their backs and legs.
Symptoms of influenza
Fever and chills
Irritated, watering eyes
Reddened eyes, skin (especially face), mouth, throat and nose
In children, gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain (may be severe in children with influenza B)
It can be difficult to distinguish between the common cold and influenza in the early stages of these infections. Influenza symptoms are a mixture of symptoms of common cold and pneumonia, body ache, headache, and fatigue. Diarrhea is not usually a symptom of influenza in adults, although it has been seen in some human cases of the H5N1 "bird flu" and can be a symptom in children. The symptoms most reliably seen in influenza are shown in the adjacent table.
The specific combination of fever and cough has been found to be the best predictor; diagnostic accuracy increases with a body temperature above 38 °C (100.4 °F). Two decision analysis studies suggest that during local outbreaks of influenza, the prevalence will be over 70%. Even in the absence of a local outbreak, diagnosis may be justified in the elderly during the influenza season as long as the prevalence is over 15%.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains an up-to-date summary of available laboratory tests. According to the CDC, rapid diagnostic tests have a sensitivity of 50–75% and specificity of 90–95% when compared with viral culture.
Occasionally, influenza can cause severe illness including primary viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia. The obvious symptom is trouble breathing. In addition, if a child (or presumably an adult) seems to be getting better and then relapses with a high fever, that is a danger sign since this relapse can be bacterial pneumonia.
Sometimes, influenza may have abnormal presentations, like confusion in the elderly and a sepsis-like syndrome in the young.
Emergency warning signs
Shortness of breath
Flu symptoms that improve but then relapse with a high fever and severe cough (can be bacterial pneumonia)
High fever and a rash.
Inability to drink fluids
Signs of dehydration
(in infants) Far fewer wet diapers than usual
(in infants) No tears when crying.
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These are 6 of the main differences between flu and coronavirus
The World Health Organization has released a report outlining the differences between the flu and coronavirus.
There are some obvious similarities:
They both spread by contact. Touching a contaminated person or surface and then touching your face is a surefire way to get sick. (It is also possible that Covid-19 can be spread via droplets in the air from an infected person’s cough or sneeze.)
Many of the symptoms are similar: They both target the respiratory system, and in varying ways. Both cause fevers, tiredness and coughing. Severe respiratory cases can become pneumonia, which can kill.
This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus/Covid-19 outbreak. You can also sign up to our dedicated newsletter.
Here are six differences between coronavirus and the flu:
— Coronavirus appears to spread more slowly than the flu. This is probably the biggest difference between the two. The flu has a shorter incubation period (the time it takes for an infected person to show symptoms) and a shorter serial interval (or the time between successive cases). Coronavirus’s serial interval is around five to six days, while flu’s gap between cases is more like three days, the WHO says. So flu still spreads more quickly.
— Shedding: Viral shedding is what happens when a virus has infected a host, has reproduced, and is now being released into the environment. It is what makes a patient infectious. Some people start shedding the coronavirus within two days of contracting it, and before they show symptoms, although this probably isn’t the main way it is spreading, the WHO says. (However, one non-peer-reviewed article this week also suggests that coronavirus patients are shedding huge amounts of the virus in these early stages, when they have either no symptoms or just mild ones.) The flu virus typically sheds in the first two days after symptoms start, and this can last for up to a week. But a study in the Lancet this week, which looked at patients in China, showed that survivors were still shedding the coronavirus for around 20 days (or until death). One was still shedding at 37 days, while the shortest time detected was eight days. This suggests coronavirus patients remain contagious for much longer than those with flu.
— Secondary infections. As if contracting coronavirus wasn’t bad enough, it leads to about two more secondary infections on average. The flu can sometimes cause a secondary infection, usually pneumonia, but it’s rare for a flu patient to get two infections after the flu. The WHO warned that context is key (someone who contracts coronavirus might already have been fighting another condition, for example).
— Don’t blame snotty kids—adults are passing coronavirus around. While kids are the primary culprits for flu transmission, this coronavirus seems to be passed between adults. That also means adults are getting hit hardest—especially those who are older and have underlying medical conditions. Experts are baffled as to why kids seem protected from the worst effects of the coronavirus, according to the Washington Post. Some say they might already have some immunity from other versions of the coronavirus that appear in the common cold; another theory is that kids’ immune systems are always on high alert and might simply be faster than adults’ in battling Covid-19.
— Coronavirus is far deadlier than the flu. Thus far, the mortality rate for coronavirus (the number of reported cases divided by the number of deaths) is around 3% to 4%, although it’s likely to be lower because many cases have not yet been reported. The flu’s rate is 0.1%.
— There is no cure or vaccine for the coronavirus. Not yet, anyway, although work is under way. There is, however, a flu vaccine—and everyone should get it, not least because being vaccinated could help lessen the load on overstretched medical services in the coming weeks.
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Personal Note ~ People are recovering. According to the Worldometer, https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/, as of writing this, the following are live numbers:
Currently Infected Patients
in Mild Condition
Serious or Critical
Cases which had an outcome:
Recovered / Discharged