Scientists from UN health agency arrive to help Gabon fight latest Ebola outbreak

12 December 2001

A team of scientists from the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has arrived in Gabon to help coordinate the international response to an outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever, the West African country’s fourth since 1994.

WHO has received reports of 10 deaths from the deadly virus among a total of 12 suspected cases, the agency said today, noting that like previous outbreaks, the cases have been confined to the northeastern region of the country.

“WHO and its partners will work with the Gabonese authorities to contain the disease and to prevent any potential spread in local communities,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, Coordinator of Global Alert and Response at WHO headquarters in Geneva. “It is very important that there is an effective and coordinated international response to this outbreak.”

Gabon’s first verified Ebola outbreak occurred in December 1994 in gold mining encampments, WHO said. Two other epidemics were confirmed in February 1996, when 13 people became ill after butchering a dead chimpanzee they had found, and later that year in October.


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