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Last Updated

11 Nov 2002

Source: The Herald Sun (Australia), June 14, 2002.

WHO confirms Ebola cases

A NEW outbreak of ebola fever has been confirmed in the Republic of Congo, with six people already affected. The latest outbreak is in the republic's northwest, on the border with Gabon, the World Health Organisation said. It was first detected on May 17 in the Mbomo district near the Gabonese town of Ivindo. Today's statement from the WHO confirms earlier information from the Congolese health ministry.

The Republic of Congo is the western neighbour of the much larger Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). WHO official Lamine Cisse Sarr said investigators in Mbomo reported "the epidemic returned on May 17 after the dismemberment of a chimpanzee found dead in a forest by two hunters". An earlier epidemic, between December and April, claimed 42 victims.

Five men and a woman have been taken to hospital in the latest outbreak, the WHO representative said. The last outbreak of the disease was brought under control by joint teams from WHO and the Congolese health ministry.

Ebola is one of the most virulent diseases known to man, and often causes death by massive haemorrhaging in which blood pours from the victim's skin like sweat. The disease is spread through contact with body fluids, including saliva. Early symptoms are similar to those of the flu. There is no known cure once the disease has reached a developed stage. But patients can survive if they are treated early enough.