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Preview: Marburg haemorrhagic fever

Marburg haemorrhagic fever


Dengue fever kills 71 in Sudan epidemic


Sudan is battling an epidemic of dengue fever, which has claimed 71 lives so far and is straining the war-ravaged nation’s tattered health system, a government official said on Tuesday. Muntasir Mohamed Osman, a senior health ministry official, said there were 299 suspected cases of the mosquito-borne disease in the affected South Kordofan region in central Sudan. Most of the cases, which were arriving at hospitals in the rural and mountainous area, were at a terminal stage, leading to an unusually high death rate of almost 25 percent.

Angola Marburg outbreak near end


Angola has not seen a new case of Marburg haemorrhagic fever for almost two weeks, officials said on Tuesday, suggesting the outbreak that killed more than 300 people is petering out - but they still urge caution. With the last confirmed case on July 9, emergency teams have been leaving Uige, the northern province which bore the brunt of the disease. But they say the outbreak in the Southern African country will not be officially over until 42 days after the last case, twice the maximum incubation period. “We really are moving towards the end,” said Fatoumata Binta Dialla, Angola representative for the United Nations World Health Organisation. “But we cannot say the outbreak is over until we have finished tracking down all the people who came into contact with the victims.”

Marburg toll in Angola revised downwards by WHO


The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday revised downwards the toll from the outbreak of Marburg Fever in Angola to 312 deaths among 351 cases. The U.N. agency reported in mid-June that there were 356 deaths among 422 cases of the Ebola-like disease, but spokesman Dick Thompson said that the new toll came after careful review of all cases and laboratory samples. “Initially there is a broad case definition to bring all people under observation and identify all contacts so people do not slip through the net,” said Thompson. “Now we have a more realistic sense of what is going on.”

U.S. vaccine works against Lassa fever in monkeys


A genetically engineered virus may offer the first effective vaccine against Lassa fever, a sometimes deadly hemorrhagic fever common in West Africa, U.S. and Canadian scientists said on Monday. The vaccine successfully protected four monkeys against Lassa, a virus that sometimes causes high fever, internal bleeding and which kills at least 5,000 people a year. “This is the first vaccine platform shown to completely protect nonhuman primates from Lassa virus,” said Dr. Thomas Geisbert of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Maryland.

Marburg orphans hundreds of Angolan children


Angola’s deadly Marburg outbreak has left hundreds of children orphaned and traumatised after seeing dying parents rushed away or their homes destroyed in attempts to stem the spread of the deadly virus, according to the United Nations. At least 320 children under 16 have lost one or both parents to the Ebola-like outbreak in northern Uige province, UNICEF’s deputy country representative Akhil Iyer said on Wednesday. “There have been houses that have been burnt or destroyed, others locked up so the children have lost access to their home,” Iyer said.

Vaccines show promise for Marburg, Ebola viruses


Canadian and U.S. scientists have developed vaccines that protect monkeys from the deadly Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever and Ebola viruses and show promise for humans, according to a news study published in the journal Nature Medicine on Sunday. It will take five or six years to complete the research to see if the experimental vaccines are safe and effective for people exposed to the contagious viruses, which are almost always fatal, said Steven Jones, one of the Canadian-based scientists who conducted the study.

Marburg fever death toll tops 300 in Angola—WHO


Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever has killed more than 300 people in Angola, mainly through exposure to the deadly virus at home and at funerals, but the situation is improving, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday. The United Nations agency said Angolan health officials had reported 337 cases since late last year, 311 of them fatal. The outbreak was not yet contained but deaths were being prevented by better awareness, which had resulted in Angolans bringing patients to hospital early, said Aphaluck Bhatiasevi,  WHO spokeswoman.

Angola Marburg outbreak not over, death toll up


The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday that Angola’s Marburg Fever outbreak was not over yet as the death toll from the disease climbed. “We’ve seen new cases in new municipalities that don’t have obvious links to earlier cases of Marburg. We are very concerned about the situation,” WHO spokesperson Aphaluck Bhatiasevi told Reuters by phone from northern Uige province, the epicentre of the pandemic. “We are trying to do as much tracing as possible. But some of the cases we have seen in the last 10 days don’t have a clear link to previous cases,” she said. “The outbreak is not over.”

Congo fears new Ebola outbreak after eight die


Republic of Congo said on Thursday eight people had died over the past two weeks with symptoms similar to those suffered by victims of the Ebola virus, raising fears of a new outbreak of the disease. Health Minister Alphonse Gando said people should not panic but should avoid contact with suspected patients and dead bush animals, which are thought to transmit the virus to humans. “Since April 27, the health district of Etoumbi, in the Cuvette-Ouest region, has recorded seven deaths and three patients with clinical symptoms that make the Ebola virus a strong suspect as the cause of the deaths and the illness,” Gando said in a statement.

Marburg death toll 277 in Angola, more feared—WHO


Twenty-two more people have died of the Marburg virus in Angola over the past week, taking the toll to 277, and more deaths are feared, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday. “The number of cases is continuing to rise slowly,” WHO spokesman Iain Simpson told journalists. “I wouldn’t say it is out of control but I wouldn’t say it is under control either… In fact we expect that there will be more cases,” he added.