UN health agency reports 18 dead, 27 infected in latest Ebola outbreak

26 December 2001

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed 27 cases of the deadly Ebola virus since the most recent outbreak struck the border region between Gabon and the Republic of Congo.

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed 27 cases of the deadly Ebola virus since the most recent outbreak struck the border region between Gabon and the Republic of Congo.

In its latest update on the disease, published on Monday, WHO said 18 people had died from Ebola haemorrhagic fever, which the agency calls "one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind."

An international team, working closely with the two countries' Ministries of Health, is operating in the area to control the outbreak, WHO reported.

Of the confirmed infections, 15 were detected in Gabon and 12 in neighbouring villages in the Republic of Congo. A further seven suspected cases are under observation, and more than 200 people who may have had contact with those infected suspected are being closely monitored.

Ebola, which is transmitted via direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, causes death in up to 90 per cent of all cases, according to WHO. There is no specific treatment or vaccine for the disease, which is often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, limited kidney and liver functions, and both internal and external bleeding.

 

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