Thursday 31 January 2002

An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has spread from Gabon to the neighbouring Congo. The country's health officials have identified 11 cases in a remote forested region on the northeastern border with Gabon, where 16 cases have already been reported, said the World Health Organisation in a statement.

Although the experts are getting a better idea of the extent of the outbreak, they are still battling to contain it. Information about the outbreak remains sketchy and the authorities concerned are baffled.

Health officials in Gabon are not responding to the repeated calls seeking comment. It is believed that villagers had reported an unusual number of dead primates, including gorillas and chimpanzees, in the dense forests of Ogooue Ivindo in Gabon.

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