2001 - Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Gabon - Update
11 December 2001
Disease Outbreak Reported
As of 11 December 2001, WHO has received reports of 12 suspected cases, including 10 deaths from haemorrhagic fever. Laboratory testing carried out at the Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville (CIRMF), Gabon has confirmed Ebola virus in one sample from a recovering case in Ogooué Ivindo Province (see previous report).
The Gabon Ministry of Health has established a national task force for managing the
response to the epidemic. An international team from WHO and its partners in the
Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network arrived in Gabon today and will assist the
Ministry of Health in:
Gabon's first verified Ebola outbreak occurred in December 1994. Investigators studying the outbreak were told of unexplained deaths of great apes, gorillas and chimpanzees, but no dead animals were found. The outbreak ended six weeks later.
Two other Ebola epidemics were confirmed in the spring and autumn of 1996. In early February, about 40 km south (seven hours by boat) from the 1994 outbreak, 13 people became ill after butchering a dead chimpanzee they had found. In October of that year, another Ebola epidemic was confirmed in the same general region and led to the introduction of the outbreak in South Africa where one person died.