Marburg outbreak

Published: Saturday 30 April 2005

A ngola is in the grip of the worst recorded outbreak of the rare Marburg disease. By March 31, 2005, 130 people, three fourths of them children, had died and the country's four provinces affected. In the last known biggest Marburg outbreak, 123 people had died in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1998 and 2000. The current outbreak began in Angola's Uige province, bordering Congo. Uige has been receiving refugees returning home from Congo.

There is no vaccine or medication for the disease. It is treated by maintaining kidney function and electrolyte balance and preventing haemorrage and shock. The World Health Organization says the virus is animal-borne and spreads to humans and some other primates through direct contact with body fluids, respiratory secretions and organs of those infected.

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