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Changing Demographics on Marburg Fatalities in Angola

Recombinomics Commentary

April 2, 2005

The demographics pf the victims of Marburg hemorrhagic fever are changing and adults and teenagers are bringing Marburg virus to new locations.  Initial cases were 75% children under the age of 5. 

The changing demographic began to appear in media reports in the middle of March.  A nurse died on March 12 after attending the funeral of another nurse.  A few days later a third nurse, who had worked in the lab in Uige died on March 15.  The clustering of the three nurses in Uige within a few days of each other signaled a changing demographic.

This change was supported by initial deaths outside of Uige.  The first two deaths were in Luanda on March 24 when a 15 year-old boy and an Italian pediatrician died.  The following day a male Vietnamese physician died in Luanda.

On the next day, March 26 the first Marburg victim outside of Angola died.  She was a pregnant resident of Cabinda who had returned from a funeral in Uige.  Her husband and two sons are among the 16 people in Cabinda under 21 day hospital quarantine, although some media reports indicate one of more of these contacts has symptoms.

The fourth region with Marburg fatalities is Kwanza Norte.  The first fatality reported in the province was in Camabatela where a teacher died on March 31.

Thus, the index case for each region outside of Uige province was a teenager or adult who has died in the past week.  In addition, the number of health care worker fatalities has risen to 12.  Two policemen also died recently.  Thus, the movement of the virus in the initial cases outside of Uige has been via adults.

There are several additional cases under review.  Results on the third passenger in Portugal have not been reported, although results were scheduled to be released Thursday afternoon.  9 people are under 21 day hospital quarantine in Italy.  There have been reports of two suspect cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Thus, associated with the spread of Marburg there has been a changing demographic involving teenagers and adults in regions outside of Uige, the epicenter of the outbreak.

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