Emergencies preparedness, response

Marburg haemorrhagic fever in Angola - update 17

6 May 2005

As of 3 May, the Ministry of Health in Angola has reported 308 cases of Marburg haemorrhagic fever. Of these cases, 277 were fatal. In Uige Province, which remains the epicentre of the outbreak, 297 cases, of which 266 have been fatal, were reported. The large increase in the number of reported cases for Uige is the result of retrospective investigation and entry into the database of cases that occurred previously. However, new confirmed cases and deaths continue to be reported in Uige.

Prevention of opportunities for spread of the virus is essential. Procedures and assigned responsibilities for safe infection control at the large provincial hospital in Uige have been agreed on this week by ministry officials, WHO, and Médecins Sans Frontières. Teams are giving particular attention to screening and admission procedures that prevent suspected cases from being treated on open wards.

To support these efforts, WHO has deployed additional experts in infection control drawn from institutions in the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.

Massive public information campaigns aimed at ending unsafe injections have continued this week.

Five new vehicles have been provided by the Angolan government for use by teams at the outbreak site. This will provide greater mobility to investigate rumours of suspected cases and deaths and to follow contacts.