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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 April, 2005, 08:28 GMT 09:28 UK
Fear of hospital hits virus fight
Nurse leaves makeshift isolation ward in Uige
Families are wary of taking their sick relatives to isolation areas
Health workers fighting to contain an outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus in Angola say families are refusing to send infected relatives to hospital.

They say this is increasing the risk of the virus spreading.

Some 203 people are now known to have died from the disease since October, including 14 medical staff, says the World Health Organisation.

WHO officials say they have begun a public awareness campaign in the worst affected region of Uige.

The WHO was forced to temporarily suspend operations in Uige last week after attacks on its vehicles by residents fearing that health workers would spread the Marburg virus.

The haemorrhagic fever caused by the Marburg virus is similar to the Ebola virus, but United Nations health experts say it appears to have an even higher mortality rate.

"People don't want to send their relatives to isolation wards, knowing most won't survive," Monica Castellanau from aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres told BBC from Uige.

Neighbouring countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa have taken precautions to prevent the virus crossing their borders.


SEE ALSO:
Marburg virus
04 Apr 05 |  Medical notes
Marburg outbreak worst recorded
31 Mar 05 |  Africa
Country profile: Angola
11 Feb 05 |  Country profiles


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