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Large Familial Marburg Cluster Signals Efficient Transmission

Recombinomics Commentary

April 13, 2005

>> "This is a homage to Nero, the most famous musician in Uige, who, together with his wife, daughter, grandson and nephew, were killed by Marburg a few days ago," Cardoso said on Tuesday as the band enjoyed a beer after a practice session in a small flat in central Uige.

The comment above would signal efficient transmission of Marburg in a large familial cluster and would indicate control of the outbreak will be exceedingly difficult.

Media reports have focused on transmissions from child to mother as well as patient to health care worker.  These earlier reports signaled a reasonably efficient, but somewhat limited, transmission.  The death of an extended family moves the transmission to a much higher level.  Unless this cluster was due to extremely extraordinary circumstances, it would signal exponential spread of the virus.

The most detailed media reports were released several weeks ago, and more recent reports appear to be dated. The quote above is more recent.  The report is lacking in detail on the circumstance surrounding the transmission, including a verification that the deaths were due to Marburg.  However, it seems likely that the report is accurate.  It is unclear if this large familial cluster is related to the six confirmed cases in the Uige morgue.

If the report on the familial cluster is accurate, it would create a major cause for concern.

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