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Marburg Transmission in Cacuaco - Slum Adjacent to Luanda

Recombinomics Commentary

April 6, 2005

>> Angolan health workers in a slum outside Luanda were treating a new suspected case of the Marburg virus as a senior United Nations official warned that the outbreak of the Ebola-like epidemic was not yet under control.

Nurses at a clinic in the township of Cacuaco, some 18 kilometres north of the capital, were scrambling to help the 22-year-old woman who they feared may be the latest casualty of the haemorrhagic fever .......
"We have a suspected case of Marburg - she arrived here an hour ago complaining of a fever and anal bleeding," clinic administrator Analdina Chivukuvuku said.

"She is bleeding quite badly," she told AFP at the clinic - one of three that serve the township with a population of some 613,000 residents on the Atlantic coast's Baia do Bengo.
Nurses were putting a drip into the young woman whose legs and feet were covered in blood. ….

They wore only face masks and rubber gloves and said they feared the virus because of a lack of proper protection.  <<

The description of the patient in Cacuaco, a slum adjacent to Luanda, strongly suggests transmission of Marburg near Luanda.  Over a week ago, a 12 year-old girl was admitted to the Cacuaco Health Centre and she too started to bleed badly and was transferred to the larger  Americo Boa Verde hospital in Luanda. 

Her case was described in a media report on some of the earlier cases in Luanda.  Uige was mentioned in connection with all of the cases except the 12 year-old who was said to be from Luanda.  Since the transfer was precipitated by the bleeding, there was not an obvious connection to Uige.

Similarly, the newly admitted 22 year-old is described above without reference to Uige, and although not confirmed, clearly sounds like a hemorrhagic fever case. 

One of the major fears of Luanda residents is that Marburg would make its way into the slums of Luanda, where it would easily spread and where contract tracing would be difficult. 

Cacuaco, with a population of over 600,000 would appear to be a fertile breeding ground from spreading Marburg virus.

The fears of Luanda residents appear to have been realized.

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