Cigna International Health Insurance

Gabon and Republic of the Congo Border Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

Jan 11, 2002

An outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever identified in Ogooue-Ivindo province of northeastern Gabon in December 2001 is not yet contained. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Gabonese Ministry of Health have confirmed, as of January 8, that at least 17 people in Gabon have died from the disease. A further 7 deaths across the border in the Republic of Congo have been confirmed by WHO and the Congolese Ministry of Health.

Although health officials in Gabon are tracking a number of persons in Libreville believed to have been exposed to the disease, no confirmed cases of Ebola have been identified in Gabon outside of Ogooue-Ivindo province. On January 4, the Gabonese government announced a quarantine of the province.

Americans should avoid travel to Ogooue-Ivindo province in Gabon and in the areas of Congo which border that province. They are also advised to monitor announcements from the Ministry of Health and the WHO, and to follow their public health guidelines and recommendations.

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease that is transmitted by direct contact with an infected person or their bodily fluids. The virus is not transmitted through casual contact and is only contagious during the stage of the disease when the symptoms are apparent. Some of the symptoms include bleeding, red and itchy eyes and vomiting blood. The disease is not spread during the incubation or convalescence period.

For further information on Ebola, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299); web site http://www.cdc.gov/travel.

For further general information regarding travel to Gabon or to the Republic of the Congo, please consult the Department's latest Consular Information Sheets for Gabon and for the Republic of Congo, which are also available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.

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