Apr 5, 2005 (CIDRAP News) The outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever in Angola has continued to grow and has killed 155 of 175 people infected, according to the latest reports.
Angolan health minister Sebastiao Veloso gave those numbers in an Agence France Presse (AFP) report yesterday. In a statement yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the Angolan health ministry had reported 163 cases with 150 deaths.
The northern province of Uige remained the center of the outbreak, the WHO said. Cases also have been reported in Luanda, Cabinda, Malange, and Kuanza Norte provinces, but all were thought to have originated in Uige.
A joint statement by the Angolan government and WHO said 80% of the cases were in children under the age of 15, according to the AFP report. Earlier reports had said 75% of the cases involved children. No explanation of the unusual age distribution has emerged so far.
In Luanda, Angola's capital, international experts are working to set up an isolation ward to take up to 40 Marburg patients, AFP reported. The story said volunteer workers at Americo Boa Vida hospital are being fitted with "Ebola suits" to work as cleaners and washers in the isolation ward. Officials said it would take several more days to complete the ward.
The WHO said five surveillance teams in Uige were continuing to investigate rumors and search for more cases.
The outbreak is the largest Marburg epidemic on record, exceeding one that hit the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1998 to 2000.
There is no vaccine or cure for the Marburg virus, which spreads through contact with bodily fluids of infected people. Resembling the deadly Ebola fever, Marburg causes severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, severe chest pain, sore throat, and cough. In later stages it leads to gastrointestinal and other bleeding.
Apr 4 WHO statement