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Marburg Toll Increases to 257 - Cases Outside of Uige Discarded

Recombinomics Commentary

April 17, 2005

>>  The death toll from the Marburg virus epidemic in Angola rose to 235 on Sunday with about 500 people under surveillance after coming in contact with the Ebola-like virus, the health ministry and the World Health Organisation said.

Health officials are treating a total of 257 cases of the killer Ebola-like bug that has claimed 219 lives in the northern province of Uige, the epicentre of the outbreak that was first detected in October, according to a statement from the ministry and the WHO. <<

The toll in Angola continues to rise, even as previously reported deaths outside of Uige are reclassified and discarded from the official list.  Last week the number of reported Marburg deaths outside of Uige had grown to 21.  Now that number has dropped to 16.  Since the Ministry of Health cannot bring patients back from the dead, the only way to reduce the death toll outside of Uige is to administratively discard the previously reported cases and issue press releases indicating that all transmissions were within Uige.  Last week previously reported cases in Zaire and Kwanza Sul were administratively removed.

The current statements that there is no transmission of Marburg outside of Uige raises significant transparency issues, since transmissions in Luanda had been reported over a week ago.  Since most of the cases have not been laboratory confirmed, changing the definition of reported cases to exclude cases outside of Uige limits assessment of the severity and scope of the epidemic.

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