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Ebola in Curvette West Republic of Congo?

Recombinomics Commentary
May 10, 2005

>> Damase Bozongo, one of the country's top health official said at least five people have succumbed to an as-yet unidentified illness this week in Cuvette West, where epidemiologists were scheduled to arrive on Wednesday to determine if the victims died from Ebola, an often deadly hemorrhagic fever.<<

The five hemorrhagic fever deaths in the Curvette West region of the Republic of Congo are cause for concern.  There were 120 Ebola deaths in the same area a year ago, and there have also been reported Ebola outbreaks in gorillas in the region.

Interestingly, the deaths are also near an earlier reported death in Bata, Equatorial Guinea.  This earlier announced death was followed by another announcement indicating the death was part of a drill.  However, it is not clear if the drill was because of a practice announcement, or if the drill was the follow-up announcement to see if the press and public would believe the second announcement.

The prior Ebola cases suggest that the new cases are Ebola.  However, the cases are north of Angola, where there have been a record number of Marburg deaths reported.  Although most of the Marburg reported cases are in Uige, most of the reported cases outside of Uige have been administratively removed from the totals. 

Negative Marburg lab results are used to exclude patients, including those who have died with Marburg symptoms.  Thus, the true spread of the Marburg virus inside or outside of Angola remains unclear.

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