Marburg virus outbreak in Angola claims over 300 lives

Friday, May 20, 2005

Marburg virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Wednesday that an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic fever, caused by Marburg virus, in Angola has claimed the lives of 311 Angolans. The outburst can be traced back to October 2004. The great majority of cases have originated in Uige Province. WHO estimates that 75% of the cases have occurred in children under the age of 5 years old.

Marburg virus growth rate in Angola
Marburg virus growth rate in Angola

From the WHO:

'Marburg virus disease has no vaccine or curative treatment, and can be rapidly fatal. In the present outbreak, most deaths have occurred between 3 to 7 days following the onset of symptoms. Past outbreaks indicate that close contact with bodily fluids of infected people, as may occur in health care settings or during burial practices, increases the risk of infection.'

This is the largest recorded outbreak of Marburg viral hemorrhagic fever in history.

The risk to international travelers is low, according to the WHO, because the disease requires close personal contact to be transmitted.