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Friday, April 1, 2005

Deadly Marburg Virus Spreads in Angola

The Marburg virus is the causative agent of Marburg hemorrhagic fever, with known outbreaks beginning in 1967, 1975, 1980, 1987, 1998 and 2004. Both the disease and virus are related to Ebola and originate in Uganda and western Kenya.

NPR is reporting:

An outbreak of deadly Marburg virus in Angola has sickened 140 people, killing 132 -- most of them young children, according to the World Health Organization. International health organizations are rushing personnel and equipment to the war-ravaged country, but WHO experts say they expect the Marburg toll to get much bigger...victims bleed to death, often from every orifice and every organ. Few infections are as deadly.

After incubating for five to 21 days, the disease comes on suddenly with symptoms including fever, chills, headache and muscular pain or tenderness.

Around the fifth day, victims may develop a rash of discolored spots and raised bumps, especially around their chest, back and stomach. Those infected may also experience nausea, vomiting, chest pain, sore throat, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Symptoms become increasingly severe and may include jaundice, inflammation of the pancreas, severe weight loss, delirium, shock, liver failure and multi-organ dysfunction.

This virus was first documented in 1967, when 37 people became ill in the German town of Marburg, after which it is named. It was caused by infectious African green monkeys (grivets Cercopithecus aethiops) imported from Uganda that were being used in developing polio vaccines.

links:
Deadly Marburg Outbreak Expands in Angola [NPR, April 1, 2005]
Marburg virus [wikipedia.org]

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