LUANDA, April 17 (Xinhuanet) — The Angolan Ministry of Health has announced that the death toll from the epidemic of Marburg hemorrhagic fever has jumped to 233 from a total of 255 cases recorded in Angola until Saturday.
According to a press release issued here by the ministry on Sunday, all the reported cases of the Ebola-like disease had originated in the northwestern province of Uige, though patients have died elsewhere, including Luanda, Zaire, Malange, Kuangza Norte, Kuanza South and Cabinda provinces.
These facts have some ominous implications. Dr. Henry Niman comments:
The rising death toll in the absence of patients in the isolation wards in Uige and Luanda supports the observation that patients are dying in neighborhoods and avoiding hospitals. These numbers would also suggest that infected individuals are moving out of the area. However, it is difficult to see why such movement would not result in transmission in the new areas, because the families would not be trained in infection control. The large number of fatal Marburg cases in health care workers indicates that transmission associated with close contact with dead or dying patients is quite efficient.
In short, we’ve not seen the peak of this Marburg outbreak yet. And the longer it goes on, the greater the odds that it will jump to another country before it’s contained.