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UPDATED: 18:21, April 21, 2005
Angola in good way to stop Marburg outbreak: WHO
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that "Angola is in a good way to stop Marburg Outbreak" as the transmission of Marburg virus limited in the northeastern province of Uige.

In a press release available here on Thursday, the WHO disclosed the UN agency, the Angolan Ministry of Health and the Center of Disease Control (CDC)/ Atlanta of United States in Angola participated in a video satellite hook-up on Tuesday with the Center for International and Strategic Studies in Washington ( CSIS) to discuss the global efforts to control the Marburg Outbreak since it was confirmed on March 22.

So far, the outbreak of the Ebola-like virus claimed 239 lives out of a total of 266 suspected cases.

"Our teams are more capable and more confident than at the beginning and we hope that soon we will be able to stop this Marburg outbreak," said Angolan Deputy Minister of Health Van- Dunem during the video conference.

According to him, the main concern is to sensitize people on the risks of transmission through sick people and dead bodies at home, once a lot of them are seeking for traditional healers to be treated.

The deputy minister of health regretted once again for the death on a traditional healer, this week, in Uige province, urging that many more could die if they do not protect themselves with appropriate protective equipment.

In some parts of Angola, ritual burial ceremonies involve touching and washing the naked body.

Dr. Fatoumata Diallo, the WHO representative in Angola, said " Our efforts are focused on Uige and in the remaining seven provinces of high risk of transmission (such as Cabinda, Zaire, Bengo, Kwanza-Norte, Malanje, Luanda-Norte and Lunda-Sul).

She added that in all these provinces, the efforts are being done to reinforce the system of active surveillance, local capacity building and a network of basic health services near the communities.

"Our interventions will be focused on coordination of efforts of all partners involved in the field, training of personnel for active search of suspected cases, case management, infection control and social mobilization," underlined the WHO representative.

Dr. Fatoumata Diallo also reminded that "WHO sent to Uige two anthropologists who are supporting the provincial authorities to respond to overall issues related to funerals and other social and cultural issues that could obstruct the outbreak control.

The chief of the CDC/Atlanta laboratory team, Dr. Tom Ksiazek, said that samples examined in Luanda and Uige confirm that the focus of the infection was limited to the areas of Uige. Testing done up to date by CDC experts working in the INSP (National Institute for Public Health) in Luanda and in Uige had confirmed a total of 71 cases of Marburg hemorrhagic fever, from which 69 occurred in the Uige province.

The Angolan deputy minister of health said that a lower number of suspected cases were reported in the last few days and if the current trend continues, we believe that we would stop the outbreak. He also calls on all the people who are willing to visit Angola not to fear to come.

"There is no reason to fear. Marburg virus only can be transmitted by close contact with fluids of sick person or dead bodies", said Dr. Van-Dunem in reaction to some restrictions to visit Angola during the current outbreak in Uige.

The Marburg virus can kill a healthy person in a week by diarrhea and vomiting followed by severe internal bleeding, and is not treatable with any known drugs.

In the last known outbreak of Marburg, 123 people were killed in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo between 1998 and 2000.

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