Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Sunday, April 17, 2005


An article about the outbreak of Marburgh virus in Angola that is actually bylined from Uige, Anola, where the outbreak is taking place. Despite 4 (internet) pages, the story really doesn't tell us much new.

Given the death toll is only 230 now, I suspect it is starting to burn itself out.

The story of Maria Bonino, the Italian doc who ran the pediatric clinic at the hospital and picked up first on the outbreak is touching, as she died of the virus along with another doctor and a number of nurses. It certainly puts into perspective all the whining among US MD's about Medicaid reimbursement rates and malpractice premiums.

Somewhat disconcerting is the idea that epidemiologists are simply ignoring certain areas when tracking the virus since they are mistrusted there:
A van had been attacked by an angry crowd armed with sticks. The day before, rocks were thrown at a surveillance vehicle. The week before, all trips had been suspended for two days because of rock-throwing.

Reluctantly, the health organization crossed three bairros off the list that surveillance teams could visit. Now, if anyone died or got sick there, health officials might not know - a breach of the defenses they were trying to build.

This is a bit reminiscent of the drunk looking for his keys near the lightpost; if you can't contain the virus everywhere, how useful is it to do so some places?


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