Republic of Congo Public Announcement 0

Issued by US Department of State

Mar 03, 2003

This Public Announcement is being issued to alert American citizens to a renewed Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak in the Cuvette Ouest Region of the northwest Republic of Congo. This Public Announcement expires on August 20, 2003.

According to the World Health Organization, this outbreak of Ebola is located in the districts of Mbomo and Kellé in the Cuvette Ouest Region of the northwest Republic of Congo, near the Odzala National Park. It is the second major outbreak of Ebola in the region in the past fifteen months.

In response to the outbreak, the Government of the Republic of Congo has officially quarantined the affected area and closed the Odzala National Park, a popular ecotourism destination. The Congolese Ministry of Health, with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other non-governmental organizations, has sent medical teams to the region to help contain the disease and begin a public awareness campaign on how to limit the spread of the virus.

Americans visiting or resident in the Republic of Congo are advised to defer travel to the affected region and are urged to monitor public health announcements from the Congolese Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and to follow public health guidelines and recommendations.

Ebola is a severe, often fatal, acute viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) that is transmitted by contact with an infected person's blood, bodily fluids and tissues. No vaccine or antiviral medication is available for treatment of Ebola hemorrhagic fever. The virus is not transmitted through casual contact and is contagious only during its active phase.

As a precautionary measure, persons should avoid funeral rites which involve close proximity to the deceased or funeral attendees. Rapid spread of the virus in hospitals and other health-care settings, and through eating or handling dead, infected primates, have also been significant contributing factors in previous outbreaks of Ebola.

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