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Angola: MSF Launches an Emergency Intervention in Uige Province Following a Marburg Fever Outbreak
March 24, 2005
Luanda, March 24, 2005 - Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has launched an emergency intervention in Uige province in northeast Angola, following an epidemic outbreak of Marburg disease, a fever similar to Ebola. A 12-person MSF team will arrive in Uige this weekend with medical and logistical material to support the Angolan Ministry of Health in managing the crisis.
In total, 17 MSF international staff, including doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, logisticians, and water-and-sanitation specialists - several with work experience in Ebola outbreaks, will take part in this intervention.
Initial activities in Uige will include bio-safety training for health staff as well as the implementation of isolation measures in the hospital, before starting to treat patients. On March 22, MSF donated 120 units of protective gear to Uige hospital. An Ebola kit module has also been sent to Uige from Luanda and another full kit is on order.
Currently, there are five people infected with Marburg disease in Uige hospital and one suspected case in Luanda. In addition, two deaths from suspected Marburg disease have been reported in Luanda. Since November of last year, 101 suspected cases of Marburg have been reported in the Uige hospital. Ninety-three patients have already died. Most of the affected persons are children under one year old. Three nurses were also infected. This week, 12 samples tested positive for Marburg fever by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another eight cases have been reported in the area of Uige and one case, a 15-year-old patient originally from Uige, was reported in the capital, Luanda, on March 22.
A multi-sector team, including members of the Angolan Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, the CDC, and MSF, was created on March 19 to manage and advise on the crisis.