The World Health organisation has confirmed that 11 out of the 14 people infected with Ebola in the current epidemic in Gabon have died.
The virus appeared in the village of Ekata in the province of Ogoué Ivindo. It them propagated rapidly to three other villages, Meddamba, Ntolo and Elaonene. It is reported that the risks of spreading to other areas is very high, because these villages are connected by a single road to two main towns, Mekambo and Makoka.
The population of these areas has the habit of laying the hands on the dead, which in the case of Ebola is an almost certain source of infection. Between 6 days and three weeks later, the disease appears, and everybody who has been in contact with the victim is highly likely to become infected.
There have been three outbreaks of Ebola in Gabon, the first in 1994 and two in 1996, the last among a group of hunters who found a dead chimpanzee, infected with the disease, who roasted and ate the animal. Within four weeks, all were dead, with the tell-tale symptoms of this horrific disease: massive bleeding from the anus, mouth, genital organs, gums, eyes, ears, nose and skin.
The three epidemics in this country have caused 95 deaths to date.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru