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Lack of Marburg Virus Survivors Creates Civil Unrest in Angola

Recombinomics Commentary

April 9, 2005

>>  Allarangar Yokouidé, an epidemiologist with the World Health Organization, told reporters that more than 80 percent of those who contracted the virus in Angola had died, a mortality rate that surpassed previous Ebola epidemics in the region. "Marburg is a very bad virus, even worse than Ebola," he said. <<

The case fatality rate for Marburg in Angola is above 99.4%.  There is at most 1 survivor out of 181 outcomes.  Thus, hospitalization offers little hope for survival, which has led to mistrust by local residents.

Mobile surveillance operations in Uige have ceased because of damage to vehicles and threats of violence.  It is unclear if health care workers have been killed because of the unrest, but clearly contact tracing has been limited in the Uige, which is the epicenter of the outbreak. 

Therefore management by contact tracing and quarantine will be difficult.  The lack of survivors has also led to relatives hiding sick patients because no one has come out of the hospital alive.  However, care by untrained and unprotected relatives leads to further transmission.  This transmission has now reached Luanda, Angola's capital.

The 3 million residents of Luanda will get increasingly concerned as the virus spreads in Luanda and the number dead increase.  The lack of any survivors creates more suspicion about the motives of health care workers and those trying to monitor and quarantine contacts of infected patients.

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