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WHO Issues Travel Advisory on Angola

Recombinomics Commentary

April 13, 2005

>>  Persons with existing medical conditions who might require hospitalization should consider deferring non-essential travel to Angola, particularly to Uige Province.

Those travelling to Angola for the purpose of working in health care settings should be fully informed regarding the outbreak of Marburg haemorrhagic fever, equipped with effective personal protective equipment, and trained in the procedures to prevent transmission in such settings.

Travellers leaving Angola should be advised to seek medical attention should any illness with fever develop within 10 days of their departure. Information about recent travel to Angola should be included when symptoms are reported. <<

Although WHO has not recommended any travel restrictions in Angola, the above advisory is included in the latest update.  It is becoming increasingly clear that the Marburg virus is spreading, and its current locations within Angola are not well understood.

Earlier reports included increases in reported cases in Luanda, but these reports appear to lag the true situations on the ground.  Unconfirmed, but not unexpected reports, indicate a significant increase in confirmed and suspected cases in the Americo Boavida isolation ward, as well as spread to at least one province not currently listed among the provinces with reported cases.

The recent report of a large familial cluster of Marburg hemorrhagic fever demonstrates relatively efficient transmission among close contacts.  The above warning makes note of potential unsafe conditions in hospitals, where there have been at least 17 fatal infections in health care workers.

It seems likely that the recent developments will heighten the concerns of foreign nationals, which might lead to an exodus from Luanda and/or Angola.

The situation in Angola appears to be quite fluid, and is being closely watched by those inside and outside of the country.

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