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Marburg Fatalities Mount and Spread to Kwanza Norte in Angola

Recombinomics Commentary

April 1, 2005

>> The Marburg virus has reached a fourth province in Angola, bringing the nationwide toll from the Ebola-like disease to 130, Angola's health ministry and the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

"By March 31 a total of 137 cases, 130 of them fatal, have been recorded," the joint commission monitoring the epidemic said in a daily briefing document, adding that the virus had spread to Kwanza Norte province east of the capital.

The official death toll from the disease had stood at 126 on Thursday, since the worst global outbreak of the virus started six months ago.

Three more deaths have been recorded in the province surrounding the capital Luanda, in Kwanza Norte province and in Uige, the northern province which has been worst hit by the virus. No details were available about the fourth death.

The case in Kwanza Norte was recorded in the town of Camabatela, which lies 85 kilometres (50 miles) south of Uige and 300 kilometres (180 miles) east of the coastal capital.

The health ministry called on the population to help control the epidemic by alerting the authorities of any deaths in the home <<

The latest update indicates Marburg continues to spread in Angola.  The number of cases is similar to the WHO update, which reported 132 deaths from 140 cases.  The number of daily deaths indicates the spread of the virus is continuing and is now being found in new areas.  Today's report adds to the fatalities found in homes yesterday, raising concerns of additional transmission outside of a hospital setting.

The closing of the main hospital in Uige has increased the movement of patients away from the epicenter of the outbreak.  Residents in Luanda are preparing for more cases, and new cases are suspected in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  In addition, contacts are being placed in 21 day hospital quarantine in Cabinda and Italy.

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