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Fear Marburg Has Spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo

Recombinomics Commentary

April 1, 2005

>> World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesperson Fadela Chaib said two other suspected cases had been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), across the border from the north Angola area where the outbreak began and has claimed 127 lives out of 132 cases.

"Nine people who were in contact with an ill person were isolated in an Italian hospital," Chaib said, without giving details of in which town or what nationality the suspected fever patients were. <<

The report of two suspect Marburg hemorrhagic fever cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo is cause for concern.  The closure of the main hospital in Uige, coupled with the deaths of 14 health care workers and first responders, has created a climate of fear which is  fueling movement away from Uige, the epicenter of the outbreak. 

Deaths have been reported in Luanda, Negage, Cabinda, and neighborhoods in Uige. Luanda residents are clearing store shelves of bleach and keeping children out of schools.  In Uige, schools have closed in an effort to control the spread of the virus, which has a case fatality rate of 100%.

The suspect cases in DRC will fuel additional fears in the above locations, as well as refugee camps in Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo.

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