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Marburg Virus Kills Twelve Health Care Workers in Angola

Recombinomics Commentary

March 31, 2005

>> >>  As of 30 March, 132 cases have been reported. These cases include 12 health care workers. Of the 132 cases, 127 have been fatal. This is the largest number of fatalities ever recorded during an outbreak of this rare, but extremely severe disease. <<

The latest WHO update is consistent with earlier media reports. The number of cases reported by WHO rose by 8 to 132 and the number who have died rose from 117 to 127.  The small number of patients who are alive appear to be the most recent admissions, so the true case fatality rate is at or near 100%.

The recent jump in fatalities appears to have shifted from children to adults.  The jump to 12 health care workers is striking.  All of these deaths appear to have happened in the past two weeks.  Media reports described eight health care workers (6 nurses, 2 physicians) as well as 2 first responders (policemen).  The additional four health care worker fatalities have probably factored into the closing of the main hospital in Uige, forcing patients to seek treatment elsewhere.  This has led to patient deaths in Luanda, Negage, and Cabinda.

The latest WHO data make the Angola Marburg the largest on record as well as the highest case fatality rate.  These new deaths likely signal additional fatalities in the upcoming days.  In addition to the reported recently hospitalized cases, there are probably unreported cases at homes or smaller hospitals.

A third passenger who flew from Angola to Portugal is being tested.

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