Ebola: 19 dead

14 victims in Gabon and 5 in the Republic of the Congo was the balance on Thursday of the toll taken by the spreading epidemic of haemorrhagic fever, which has been confirmed as Ebola.

Ebola causes the death of 90% of its victims through massive internal haemorrhages. There is no treatment or vaccine against this horrific disease, which appeared three weeks ago in Mekambo, northern Gabon, where a previous outbreak in 1996 caused 66 deaths.

The first outbreak of Ebola in Gabon was in 1994, when 20 people were killed. It is thought that the Ebola virus is carried by animals, possibly rodents or bats, who transmit it to humans upon contact. The disease is transmitted between humans by body fluids, including perspiration, meaning that a simple handshake can be enough to pass it on. The habit in Africa is laying the hands on the dead is responsible for many cases of contagion.

The few that survive Ebola do it on their own: their immune systems are strong enough to fight the disease.


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