Characterization of a new Marburg virus isolated from a 1987 fatal case in Kenya

E. D. Johnson, B. K. Johnson, D. Silverstein, P. Tukei, T. W. Geisbert, A. N. Sanchez, P. B. Jahrling

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128 Scopus citations


In 1987, an isolated case of fatal Marburg disease was recognized during routine clinical haemorrhagic fever virus surveillance conducted in Kenya. This report describes the isolation and partial characterization of the new Marburg virus (strain Ravn) isolated from this case. The Ravn isolate was indistinguishable from reference Marburg virus strains by cross-neutralization testing. Virus particles and aggregates of Marburg nucleocapsid matrix in Ravn-infected vero cells, were visualized by immunoelectron microscopic techniques, and also in tissues obtained from the patient and from inoculated monkeys. The cell culture isolate produced a haemorrhagic disease typical of Marburg virus infection when inoculated into rhesus monkeys. Disease was characterized by the sudden appearance of fever and anorexia within 4 to 7 days, and death by day 11. Comparison of nucleotide sequences for portions of the glycoprotein genes of Marburg-Ravn were compared with Marburg reference strains Musoki (MUS) and Popp (POP). Nucleotide identity in this alignment between RAV and MUS is 72.3%, RAV and POP is 71%, and MUS and POP is 91.7%. Amino acid identity between RAV and MUS is 72%, RAV and POP is 67%, and MUS and POP is 93%. These data suggest that Ravn is another subtype of Marburg virus, analogous to the emerging picture of a spectrum of Ebola geographic isolates and subtypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-114
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of Virology, Supplement
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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