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Marburg Case Fatality Rate at 99.6%

Recombinomics Commentary

April 30, 2005

>> But while the number of fatalities had risen, Espirito-Santo said that for the first time an infected patient had recovered and was discharged from an isolation ward at the Uige provincial hospital.

"This patient's case may mean that not all infected will die and that people are developing antibodies to the disease,'' she said.

The patient's age and sex were not known. Espirito-Santo said more people were going to hospitals for treatment after an intensive publicity campaign to alert people of the dangers of Marburg.  <<

The official announcement of the first Marburg discharge allows an accurate case fatality rate to be calculated.  Various media reports indicated the rate was greater than 90%, but a true rate is based on outcomes.  Assuming that the large number of discarded cases was not Marburg, the official count is 1 discharge and 257 deaths.  Thus, the case fatality rate is 257/258 or 99.6%, indicating that prior reports of a case fatality rate of 100% were accurate.

The prior high case fatality rate for Marburg or Ebola was 88%, and the record death toll is 280.  Since the number of official cases is now almost 280 and the case fatality rate is close to 100%, it seems very likely that the current outbreak will cause more deaths than the highest recorded outbreak for Ebola.  The prior Marburg record of 126 deaths was broken earlier this month.

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