Marburg Outbreak Continues in Angola

Posted on May 25, 2005

The marburg outbreak that has struck with surprising tenacity in Angola has now killed 315 people. The New York Times reports that new cases continue to emerge.

The epidemic in Angola, thought to have begun weeks or months before it was recognized, is the largest on record. As of yesterday, there was a total of 376 suspected or confirmed cases in U�ge, including 315 deaths. The disease is spread by contact with body fluids like blood, saliva or urine, though people do not transmit the virus until they become ill. Those who recover can still transmit the virus sexually for about three months.

Ms. Bhatiasevi said that because the virus had also been found in breast milk, infected mothers were being advised not to breast-feed. Healthy mothers of infected children were also being advised not to breast-feed, she said, lest the mothers become infected as well.

Marburg, a close relative of the Ebola virus, causes a hemorrhagic fever that is often fatal within a week. The incubation period is three to nine days. There is no cure, and no vaccine.

The Times article also says that cases are being reported in areas where there were no cases before and that health workers in the area say the outbreak is still not over. This outbreak surpassed previous marburg outbreaks as the worst ever several weeks ago.

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