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Thread: Marburg Outbreak

  1. #1 Marburg Outbreak 
    Forum Sophomore cleft's Avatar
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    Marburg outbreak now devastating all age groups

    18:30 10 May 2005
    NewScientist.com news service
    Shaoni Bhattacharya


    The outbreak of the deadly Marburg haemorrhagic fever sweeping across northern Angola is now devastating all age groups - and no longer predominantly young children - say epidemiologists on the ground.

    The rare but deadly virus has been rampaging through the Angolan province of Uige since March 2005, leading to the worst outbreak yet known. In the early weeks of the outbreak, the virus mysteriously appeared to be striking down mainly children under five. Before this happened, cases in children were considered extremely rare.

    But now the disease appears to be attacking all ages, says Evelyn Depoortere, an epidemiologist and physician with Paris-based Epicentre. It’s not focused on children anymore, she told New Scientist from Luanda, Angola, where she is working with a Médecins Sans Frontières team to help track and contain the virus.

    According to the latest figures the MSF team has received, the number of cases had snowballed to 311 in Uige on 7 May, including 271 deaths. Most cases have occurred in the province but there have been cases elsewhere. Some reports suggest there may be 327 people affected in Angola.

    ---cut---

    Raising awareness

    Various agencies, along with the Angolan ministry of health, are also working to train health care staff, including traditional healers, on how to safely deal with possible cases. And they are also working with communities to ensure that burials are carried out safely. The WHO has even been broadcasting a new song about the deadly virus from vans driving through Uige.

    We feel it’s very important to be very present in the community raising awareness so people have confidence in medical teams and the system so they continue to be alert for cases and are not afraid to come to the hospital, says Depoortere.

    This outbreak of Marburg - which is related to the Ebola virus - is the worst ever seen, though only a handful of outbreaks have been documented since the virus’s discovery in 1967. The Marburg virus also appears even deadlier than its fearsome relative in this outbreak, killing over 90% of its victims, according to the WHO.

    Source and complete article here
    It appears that the ebola virus is mutating. Not the first time it has done so. The question to my mind is, "Is this the next plague"? Typically, any virus with 100% death rate doesn't spread too far. If there is a slow down in transmission rates the host dies before it can pass on the virus. While the ebola is certainly a virtulant strain, it is also a difficult strain to pass on from host to host. It seems funny that this ebola doesn't quit attempting to mutate and spread. One would think that the hosts it gains access to would lead it to eridication. Someone educate me here, as I am hardly any sort of expert on these matters.


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  3. #2  
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    The main reason it spread so well, is because ebola mainly arises in Africa, which has quite an insufficient medical system. The doctors and hospital staff are constantly in contact with the patients, often in inadequate protective materials, and then they return home to spread it to their families. In more medically advanced societies, such does not arrive because preventions are in place to impede, or inhibit, the spread of ebola.


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  4. #3 Re: Marburg Outbreak 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cleft
    It appears that the ebola virus is mutating. It seems funny that this ebola doesn't quit attempting to mutate and spread.
    1. This is not the Ebola virus, this is the Marburg. They are related, but they are different. Your quoted article even says as much. I am at a loss to understand why you think this is evidence for Ebola mutation.
    2. All viruses mutate and attempt to spread. It's what they do. It would be funny if we found one that didn't.

    This gives a potted history of the two:

    Marburg disease has been recognized on six occasions: in 1967, in Germany and Yugoslavia, 31 humans (7 fatalities) were infected following exposure to African green monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) from Uganda; in 1975, the fatal index case of 3 cases diagnosed in South Africa had originated in Zimbabwe; in 1980, there were 2 confirmed cases in Kenya, 1 fatal; in 1982, 1 case occurred in Zimbabwe; and in 1987, a fatal case occurred in Kenya. In 1999, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at least 3 fatal cases of Marburg were confirmed among over 70 suspected cases of viral hemorrhagic fever.

    Ebola disease was first recognized in 1976 in the western equatorial province of the Sudan and 500 miles away in Zaire; more than 600 cases were identified in rural hospitals and villages; the case-fatality rate for these nearly simultaneous outbreaks was about 70%. A second outbreak occurred in the same area in Sudan in 1979. A distinct strain was recovered from one person and from chimpanzees in the Ivory Coast in 1994. A major Ebola outbreak in 1995 was centered around Kitwit, Zaire. In 1996-1997 two outbreaks that were recognized in Gabon resulted in 98 recognized cases and 66 deaths. FA antibodies have been found in residents of several other areas of sub-Saharan Africa, but their relation to the highly virulent Ebola virus is unknown.
    Source: Department of Health, Washington State
    http://www.doh.wa.gov/Notify/guidelines/ebola.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by hotsexyangelprincess
    In more medically advanced societies, such does not arrive because preventions are in place to impede, or inhibit, the spread of ebola.
    A comforting thought, but quite possibly faulty. The more medically advanced societies also have very advanced transportation systems and highly mobile populations. The potential for rapid spread of either virus is very real.

    Is it the next plague Cleft? It has that potential, however, from the same source as above
    Person to person transmission occurs by direct contact with infected blood, secretions, organs or semen. Risk is highest during the late stages of illness when the patient is vomiting, having diarrhea, or hemorrhaging. Risk during the incubation period is low.
    So avoid contact with people in a bad way! Those at great risk are the health professionals. Oh, and there's a kicker.
    Transmission through semen has occurred 7 weeks after clinical recovery.
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  5. #4 Outbreak 
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    Experts from the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), including experts from neighbouring countries, have been working in Uige Province – the epicentre of the outbreak. Controlling this outbreak has included implementation of strict infection control measures to stop the virus spreading in health clinics and hospitals; early identification and isolation of people with Marburg; and follow-up of the people they have been in contact with. Control efforts have also focused on training teachers and health workers.

    Community awareness has been key, and the outbreak team have worked with community leaders – also known as Sobas – to help people understand what they can do to stop Marburg.

    The natural source of the virus remains unknown. Investigations into the very early cases will help scientists understand how the virus infected people in Uige.
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