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Transmission of Marburg Virus in Luanda  Angola Has Begun

Recombinomics Commentary

April 9, 2005

>> All Things Considered, April 8, 2005 · The World Health Organization is appealing for emergency aid in fighting an outbreak of deadly Marburg virus in Angola and southwestern Africa. So far the virus has infected 200 people, killing 173, but health workers fear there are more undocumented cases <<

NPR interview included comments by Christa Kitz, who is coordinating the work of Medecins Sans Frontieres.  She indicated that cases in and around Luanda have been identified who have not been to Uige and have no contacts in Uige, indicating the urban transmission of Marburg has begun.

These comments are consistent with media reports of a 12 year-old and 22 year-old treated in local clinics in the Cacuaco slum just northeast of Luanda.

Additional problems were mentioned including lack of reliable electricity, which precluded use of the mobile lab, and burial customs which included washing of the dead body and drinking the water.  The report also mentioned the stoning of the WHO mobile surveillance team, which has also ceased operations.

This update clearly demonstrates that controlling Marburg in Angola will be a major challenge, and fears of Marburg racing through the slums of Luanda have been realized.

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