The World Health Organization is beginning to admit that it doesn’t have a handle on the Marburg outbreak in Angola:
Uige – There is no end in sight to the outbreak of the Marburg virus in Angola, a top expert from the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday, citing “massive problems” in mobilising Angolans to fight the Ebola-like bug in this northern city.
“After four weeks, this epidemic is still peaking,” said Pierre Formenty, the WHO’s top specialist on new and dangerous diseases.
Four weeks? The outbreak began last October!
“It has not been stopped, because we have massive problems in mobilising the community against it,” he told AFP as the death toll from the deadly haemorrhagic fever hit 210.
[Health workers’] efforts have been met with fierce resistance and denial by many residents in Uige, who are shunning the hospitals and the specially-suited medical teams that roam the city in search of Marburg cases.
No wonder. The locals figured out that the bug started in infants who’d been vaccinated. (Conspiracy theory, anyone?) They also noticed the 100% death rate for people who entered the hospital.
“The difference between this outbreak of Marburg and previous outbreaks, including Ebola, is that this one is in an urban, confined area, while the others were in rural areas,” said Tom Ksiazek, who heads the Atlanta-based centres for disease control’s (CDC) special pathogens branch.
“(That is what’s making) this one more difficult to control,” he told AFP.
That’s an understatement.