Tuesday, April 05, 2005

"Green Monkey" disease under control in Angola's northern province

The outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever is under control in Angola's northern Cabinda province, nine days after the record of the first case, a provincial health source has disclosed.

According to local media on Tuesday, Cabinda Main Hospital Director Alberto Paca said that the about 20 people who were in direct contact with a person who died of Marburg and currently under medical care at Cabassango hospital are not infected.

As preventive measure, they will keep in quarantine in that hospital so that they complete 21 days which correspond the period of incubation of Marburg virus, he said.

Angola's Health Ministry announced on Monday that the epidemic of Marburg hemorrhagic fever has claimed 150 lives among 163 reported cases, but its focus remains limited to one northern province.

It noted that all 163 cases so far reported had originated in the northwestern province of Uige, despite several deaths having occurred in Luanda and the neighboring provinces of Malange, North Cuanza and Cabinda.

Marburg is a viral infection of the rhabdovirus group whose clinic manifestations are a hemorrhagic fever syndrome feared to originate from a type of green ape.

The transmission occurs either through contact with infected animals and human beings, or through the semen during sexual intercourse, as well as through the manipulation of body fluids.

The Marburg virus was first identified in 1967. Several African countries including South Africa and Kenya have also experienced the epidemic.

Three-quarters of the deaths in Angola have been children under the age of five, according to the WHO, but the virus has also started to claim adult victims since it erupted in October in Uige province and began rapidly spreading in February.

Story here.

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