The European Commission has approved a second emergency decision in response to the Marburg epidemic in northern Angola. The outbreak of this rare viral haemorrhagic fever has by now become the worst ever recorded of the disease. It is also the first time that cases have been diagnosed in an urban environment.
There is unfortunately no specific treatment for Marburg, but supportive hospital therapy and barrier nursing techniques to prevent direct contact with the patient must be provided.
The aid is being managed by ECHO, the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department, which comes under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. Mr Michel said: “The Marburg fever is extremely worrying because it is so contagious and virulent. That is why we have decided to fund essential health work to help stem the spread of the virus. At the same time it is important to provide reliable information about who is at risk and how it is spread, in order to prevent unnecessary panic and stigmatisation of victims.”
This decision will cover a series of measures including special equipment to protect health workers, essential relief items such as blankets and water containers, medicines such as antibiotics, clean water, air transport of medical staff and supplies to the affected locations, community emergency education/information and support for quarantine and other public health measures. The funds come in addition to €500,000 channelled by the Commission on 24 March through Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Spain and Holland - see IP/05/381.