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Monday, 10 December, 2001, 11:41 GMT
Ebola confirmed in Gabon
Medical-workers in DR Congo in 1995 Ebola outbreak
Health-workers must take precautions
The World Health Organization has said that 11 people have now died from the Ebola virus in Gabon.

WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said that a second team of specialists would fly to Gabon on Monday evening.

This is the first known outbreak of the disease since 224 people died of it in Uganda last year.

There is no known cure for Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever, and between 50% and 90% of its victims bleed to death within days.

The WHO specialists will try to contain the outbreak as well as investigate its source.

Dead monkeys

Mr Hartl said they would also help Gabonese health-workers avoid contracting the disease by using gloves and masks.

WHO officials have said that one of the dead was a health-worker who had contracted the disease from a patient.

The outbreak is in the remote north-eastern province of Ogooue Ivindo, where Ebola killed 45 people in 1996-97.

Children in DR Congo, during 1995 outbreak
Ebola kills between 50% and 90% of those infected

The Ebola alarm was raised after medical teams discovered an unusually large number of dead primates in the region.

The government in the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo has denied reports of an Ebola outbreak there.

A total of 28 people have died in this outbreak, although DR Congo health officials say the fever is unlikely to be Ebola, as had been earlier feared, but a similar haemorrhagic fever.


The challenge now is to establish what the virus is, which means sending samples to a clinic in South Africa, isolating the affected communities, and getting treatment for the patients.

Rebels controlling the eastern half of the country are being asked to allow movement of sufferers and doctors across the frontline which runs close to the affected area.

Officials reported that the nearest hospital is in rebel hands.

Ebola was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the DR Congo.

The BBC's Nick Hawton
"One of the world's most deadly diseases"
See also:

27 Feb 01 | Africa
Uganda Ebola free
06 Dec 00 | Africa
Compensation for Ebola deaths
04 Dec 00 | Africa
Uganda's Ebola nursing toll
20 Oct 00 | Medical notes
Ebola and other tropical viruses
18 Oct 00 | Health
Africa's emerging virus threat
15 Jan 99 | Africa
Fighting back at ebola
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