Ravn virus

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Ravn virus
Virus classification e
(unranked): Virus
Realm: Riboviria
Kingdom: Orthornavirae
Phylum: Negarnaviricota
Class: Monjiviricetes
Order: Mononegavirales
Family: Filoviridae
Genus: Marburgvirus
Ravn virus
Marburg (Ravn) virus disease
Occurrences of Marburg virus strains across Africa, 'more frequent' Marburg virus disease are shown as bulls eyes, whereas occurrences of RAVN are shown as yellow stars.
SpecialtyInfectious disease
FrequencyLua error in Module:PrevalenceData at line 5: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).

Ravn virus (/ˈrævən/;[1] RAVV) is a close relative of Marburg virus (MARV). RAVV causes Marburg virus disease in humans and nonhuman primates, a form of viral hemorrhagic fever.[2] RAVV is a Select agent,[3] World Health Organization Risk Group 4 Pathogen (requiring Biosafety Level 4-equivalent containment),[4] National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Category A Priority Pathogen,[5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Category A Bioterrorism Agent,[6] and listed as a Biological Agent for Export Control by the Australia Group.[7]

Term use

Ravn virus (today abbreviated RAVV, but then considered identical to Marburg virus) was first described in 1987 and is named after a 15-year old Danish boy who fell ill and died from it.[8] Today, the virus is classified as one of two members of the species Marburg marburgvirus, which is included into the genus Marburgvirus, family Filoviridae, order Mononegavirales. The name Ravn virus is derived from Ravn (the name of the Danish patient from whom this virus was first isolated) and the taxonomic suffix virus.[1]

Previous designations

Ravn virus was first introduced as a new subtype of Marburg virus in 1996.[8] In 2006, a whole-genome analysis of all marburgviruses revealed the existence of five distinct genetic lineages. The genomes of representative isolates of four of those lineages differed from each other by only 0-7.8% on the nucleotide level, whereas representatives of the fifth lineage, including the new "subtype", differed from those of the other lineages by up to 21.3%.[9]

Consequently, the fifth genetic lineage was reclassified as a virus, Ravn virus (RAVV), distinct from the virus represented by the four more closely related lineages, Marburg virus (MARV).[1]

Virus inclusion criteria

A virus that fulfills the criteria for being a member of the species Marburg marburgvirus is a Ravn virus if it has the properties of Marburg marburgviruses and if its genome diverges from that of the prototype Marburg marburgvirus, Marburg virus variant Musoke (MARV/Mus), by ≥10% but from that of the prototype Ravn virus (variant Ravn) by <10% at the nucleotide level.[1]


Marburg virus disease is a severe type of viral hemorrhagic fever in humans.[10] Initial symptoms typically include fever, headache, and muscle pain.[11] A few days later a rash, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain may occur.[11] Onset of symptoms is typically 5 to 10 days following exposure.[11] Complications may include liver failure, delirium, pancreatitis, and severe bleeding.[11]

The cause is Marburgvirus, of which there are two types Marburg virus (MARV) and Ravn virus .[2] These viruses normally circulates among African fruit bats, without resulting in ill affects.[12] Spread can occur from these bats to people and than between people.[10] Spread between people is by direct or indirect contact with contaminated body fluids, including during sex.[13][10] Diagnosis is by blood tests.[14] It presents similar to Ebola virus disease (EVD).[10]

Prevention involves avoiding bats in central Africa and using appropriate personal protective equipment when caring for sick people.[15] Treatment involves supportive care and this improves outcomes.[10] This may include intravenous fluids, blood products, oxygen therapy, and electrolytes.[16] About half of those who are infected die as a result.[10]

MVD is rare.[12] It generally occurs as outbreaks within Africa.[12] The disease was initially recognized in 1967 and since then 588 cases have been diagnosed.[12][10] Other primates may also be affected.[12]

MVD due to RAVV infection cannot be differentiated from MVD caused by MARV by clinical observation alone. [17]


Rousettus aegyptiacus

In 2009, the successful isolation of infectious RAVV was reported from caught healthy Egyptian rousettes (Rousettus aegyptiacus).[18]

This isolation, together with the isolation of infectious MARV, strongly suggests that Old World fruit bats are involved in the natural maintenance of marburgviruses.[18][19]


The viral strains fall into two clades: Ravn virus and Marburg virus.[20] The Marburg strains can be divided into two: A and B. The A strains were isolated from Uganda (five from 1967), Kenya (1980) and Angola (2004–2005) while the B strains were from the Democratic Republic of the Congo epidemic (1999–2000) and a group of Ugandan isolates isolated in 2007–2009.[21][22][20]


In the past, RAVV has caused the following MVD outbreaks:

Marburg virus disease (MVD) outbreaks due to Ravn virus (RAVV) infection
Year Geographic location Human cases/deaths (case-fatality rate)
1987 Kenya 1/1 (100%)[8]
1998–2000 Durba and Watsa, Democratic Republic of the Congo unknown (A total of 154 cases and 128 deaths of marburgvirus infection were recorded during this outbreak. The case fatality was 83%. Two different marburgviruses, RAVV and Marburg virus (MARV), cocirculated and caused disease. It has never been published how many cases and deaths were due to RAVV or MARV infection)[23][24][25]
2007 Uganda 0/1 (0%)[18][26]


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Further reading

  • Klenk, Hans-Dieter (1999), Marburg and Ebola Viruses. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology, vol. 235, Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-540-64729-4
  • Klenk, Hans-Dieter; Feldmann, Heinz (2004), Ebola and Marburg Viruses - Molecular and Cellular Biology, Wymondham, Norfolk, UK: Horizon Bioscience, ISBN 978-0-9545232-3-7
  • Kuhn, Jens H. (2008), Filoviruses - A Compendium of 40 Years of Epidemiological, Clinical, and Laboratory Studies. Archives of Virology Supplement, vol. 20, Vienna, Austria: SpringerWienNewYork, ISBN 978-3-211-20670-6
  • Martini, G. A.; Siegert, R. (1971). Marburg Virus Disease. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 978-0-387-05199-4.
  • Ryabchikova, Elena I.; Price, Barbara B. (2004), Ebola and Marburg Viruses - A View of Infection Using Electron Microscopy, Columbus, Ohio, USA: Battelle Press, ISBN 978-1-57477-131-2

External links