Four die from Ebola-like virus in Angola

Four people died on Saturday from an outbreak of the Ebola-like Marburg virus in the provincial hospital of Uige in northern Angola, bringing the total nation-wide death toll to 119 in less than six months, authorities said.

“This morning, four people died in hospital, including one child and one nurse,” said the health ministry spokesperson Carlos Alberto by telephone from Uige, about 300 kilometres north of the capital Luanda.

A sick woman has been admitted to the hospital, Alberto said, adding that he was not able to provide the total number of sick hospitalised to date.

The previous official figures on Friday evening stated there were 123 declared cases of the virus, and at that point 115 dead, two in Luanda and 113 in Uige, the province most affected by the virus since the outbreak of the epidemic in October 2004 and which has seen a worsening of cases in the past three weeks.

Filomeno Fortes, the chief of epidemiology at the health department, said the country was waiting for the arrival of about 30 experts from various international organizations, including the World Health Organization, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), and US-based Centers for Disease Control.

The team of experts includes doctors, epidemiologists and specialists in hygiene and decontamination, Fortes said.

The Marburg virus, a severe form of hemorrhagic fever in the same family as Ebola, was first identified in 1967 in a laboratory in the German city that gave the disease its name. Until now the most serious outbreak of the disease was in the Democratic Republic of Congo where 123 people died between 1998-2000. - Sapa-AFP

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