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Mobile Marburg Surveillance Team in Uige Halts Operations

Recombinomics Commentary

April 8, 2005

>> Mobile surveillance teams in Uige were forced to suspend operations yesterday when vehicles were attacked and damaged by local residents. As the situation has not improved, no surveillance teams were operational today in this province, which remains the epicentre of the outbreak.

WHO staff in Uige were notified today of several fatalities but teams were unable to investigate the cause of death or collect the bodies for safe burial. Discussions have been held with provincial authorities to find urgent solutions.<<

The latest WHO update indicates number of confirmed Marburg infections rose to 205 in Angola.  However, this seems to be an under-estimate because investigative teams were unable to reach dead bodies in Uige.  Moreover, damage to surveillance vehicles force the suspension of operations.

These difficulties produce an undercount of victims, limit contact tracing,  and create more opportunities for further spread of the Marburg hemorrhagic fever virus.  These problems at the epicenter of the outbreak in Uige may extend to other regions, as dead victims accumulate and modern health care is unable to offer treatments to reduce the fatality rate, which is at or near 100%.

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