MSF sends specialists and equipment to intervene in Ebola emergency
18 December 2001
Gabon/Belgium - This week MSF will set up isolation wards to treat Ebola patients in Mekambo and in Makouko (Gabon), in cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Gabon Government. Two doctors have joined today the MSF team on the ground, while a logistician will arrive on Wednesday, raising the number of MSF specialists in Gabon to six. Additional medical and logistical material has also been sent by the humanitarian aid organisation, including water sanitation equipment and an Ebola kit complete with protective gear and medicines. This material will allow setting up two isolation wards, where patients can be treated respecting their human integrity, and at the same time protecting the medical personnel, preventing the spreading of the disease. As of December 16, the Gabon Ministry of Health has reported 17 suspected cases of Ebola (two laboratory confirmed cases) including 12 deaths. According to the preliminary observations of the WHO team on the ground, it seems that the so-called Zaire virus of Ebola is the one currently spreading in Gabon. There are two main Ebola viruses known to humans; the Zaire strain with a mortality rate of 70-90%, and the South Sudan, a less intense variety, with a mortality rate of 50-70%.