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Volume 11, Number 1—January 2005

Letter

Pygmy Populations Seronegative for Marburg Virus

Matthias Borchert*1Comments to Author , Sabue Mulangu†, Robert Swanepoel‡, Antoine Tshomba§, Afongenda Afounde¶, Amayo Kulidri¶, Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum†, and Patrick Van der Stuyft*
Author affiliations: *Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; †Institut de Recherche Biomédicale, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; ‡National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa; §Hôpital Général de Kilo-Moto, Watsa, Democratic Republic of Congo; ¶Ministry of Health, Democratic Republic of Congo

Main Article

Table

Frequency of risk factors for Marburg hemorrhagic fever in pygmies and nonmining general population residing in the Watsa Health Zone, Democratic Republic of Congo

Risk factors Male pygmies
(n = 150) (%) Female pygmies
(n = 150) (%) p* Pygmy population
(n = 300) (%) Nonmining population
(n = 553 to 569)† (%) p*
Primary transmission risk factors
Subsistence activities
Hunting 100 20 < 0.001 60
Entering caves 98 99 0.7 98
Contacts with wild animals
Rodents
Touched 85 59 < 0.001 72 53 < 0.001
Eaten‡ 42 43 0.9 42 34 0.02
Bitten by 33 27 0.3 30 26 0.15
Any contact 88 71 < 0.001 79 65 < 0.001
Bats
Touched 81 68 0.008 75 16 < 0.001
Eaten‡ 59 47 0.04 53 3 < 0.001
Bitten by 23 15 0.06 19 0.9 < 0.001
Any contact 83 72 0.02 78 18 < 0.001
Monkeys, apes
Touched 99 83 < 0.001 91 59 < 0.001
Eaten‡ 97 96 0.8 96 79 < 0.001
Bitten by 6 5 0.6 5 8 0.2
Any contact 99 97 0.1 98 84 < 0.001
Any wild animals 99 98 0.3 99 90 < 0.001
Secondary transmission risk factors
Contact with FHS§ patient
In the same household with FHS patient 19 25 0.3 22 25 0.4
In the same room with FHS patient 11 20 0.04 16 22 0.03
Worked with FHS patient 16 25 0.06 20 28 0.02
Participated in funeral of FHS patient 19 25 0.2 22 44 < 0.001
Touched FHS patient 15 23 0.06 19 32 < 0.001
Touched blood, urine, feces of FHS patient 10 13 0.5 11 7 0.03
Touched remains of FHS patient 11 19 0.05 15 10 0.02
Any contact 27 36 0.1 32 58 < 0.001
Any direct contact (touched) 22 31 0.09 26 34 0.02
Invasive medical treatment¶
Ever received injection 85 90 0.2 88
Ever received surgical or obstetric care 52 31 < 0.001 41
Any invasive medical treatment ever 93 93 93
Traditional treatment
Ever had scarification 99 97 0.4 98

*Using chi-square test.

†Variation in sample size due to missing data.

‡Bush meat often is smoked, grilled, or cooked; exposure to viable virus may therefore be more likely to happen during preparation of such meat for consumption than during consumption itself.

§FHS (febrile hemorrhagic syndrome): severe illness with high fever and bleeding from the nose, mouth or anus.

¶Includes circumcision, abscess incision, and other minor intervention.

Main Article

1Current affiliation: Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.

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