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Marburg Monitoring Extends to Portugal

Recombinomics Commentary
March 28, 2005

>> Meanwhile in former colonial power Portugal a senior health official said authorities were protectively checking on the cause of death of a Portuguese on Saturday shortly after his return from Angola. <<

Infection control for Marburg virus is heavily dependent on contact tracing and quarantine.  The above comments indicate this monitoring has expanded to Portugal.

Since the incubation time for development of symptoms is 3-9 days, there is an opportunity to control the disease via quarantine.  In Cabinda, 14 contacts of the fatal case have been placed under hospital quarantine.  The index case in Cabinda was infected after attending a funeral in Uige of another Marburg fatality. 

Thus, clearing suspect deaths is important in the control of the disease. More details on the fatality mentioned above will be useful.  Transmission of Marburg has been largely limited to Uige.  Most of the cases in Luanda had been infected in Uige.  However, a twelve-year old may have been infected in the Luanda suburb of Cacuaco.  If confirmed, this would be cause for concern because her source of infection has not been identified.  She had been admitted to the suburban hospital two days before she was transferred to Luanda's Americo Boa Verde.

The death toll increased by 1 to 122.  The daily increases are small because most of the diagnosed cases have already died.  Most of the patients hospitalized are for observation, as noted for the 14 patients in Cabinda.  However, because of the large number of new cases in the past weeks, further transmission by these recent patients may not have been detected.  Thus, additional contact tracing and monitoring of suspicious death will be critical in the control of the Marburg virus epidemic in Angola.

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