Cigna International Health Insurance

Gabon and the Republic of Congo Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Feb 20, 2002

Ebola hemorrhagic fever, previously confined to Ogooue-Ivindo province in northeastern Gabon and the border region of the Republic of the Congo, is not yet contained.

In January of 2002, more than 23 cases were confirmed in the Ogooue-Ivindo province of Gabon and the Republic of Congo border region.

One case of Ebola has now been identified in Haut-Ogooue province in southeastern Gabon. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Gabonese Ministry of Health have confirmed 43 deaths from the disease in Gabon, and WHO has confirmed 13 deaths in the Republic of the Congo. Health officials continue to respond to new cases in the affected areas.

U.S. Government personnel in the Haut-Ogooue region have been instructed to depart. Americans visiting or resident in Gabon and Republic of the Congo are cautioned to avoid the affected regions of the two countries, to monitor public health 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 its active phase. The disease is not spread during the incubation or convalescence period.

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 has also been an important contributing factor in previous outbreaks of Ebola hemorrhagic fever. No vaccine or antiviral medication is available for treatment of Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

For further information on Ebola, please 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 at 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 Sheet for Gabon and for the Republic of Congo, which are also available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.

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