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Marburg Fatalities Found in Residential Neighborhoods in Angola

Recombinomics Commentary

March 31, 2005

>>  The death told of the hemorrhagic fever caused by the "Marburg" virus has risen over the last 24 hours from 117 to 126, out of the 132 cases recorded in Angola`s northern Uije province.

This was announced Wednesday in Luanda by the deputy Health minister, José Van-Dúnem. Speaking to the press, the minister explained that five of the new corpses, were found in residential areas by health staff working in the detection of new cases of infection in the region. The bodies were taken to the mortuary and buried subsequently, without giving the next-of-kin the chance to handle them, the source said. <<

The finding of additional fatalities in residential neighborhoods is cause for concern.  The fatality rate for Marburg hemorrhagic fever in Angola is running at 100%.  The number of Marburg victims that are still alive in the daily tallies are recent hospital admissions that have not been sick long enough to die.  There are no reports of any recovered patients.  The number of fatalities has set a record.  The mounting death toll of patients and health care workers has led to the closure of the main hospital in Uige.

Consequently, many of the recent deaths have been outside of Uige in Luanda, Negage, and Cabinda.  The number of fatalities among health care workers has risen to 12, and two policemen have also died.

The latest report on fatalities in residences suggests the number of deaths will continue to outpace the official number of infected patients who are alive.  These residential deaths have associated contacts, that may already be infected because of the time between infection, symptoms, and death.

Control of the spread of Marburg hemorrhagic fever will be more difficult as the fatalities continue to increase and disperse geographically.

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