(Extracted from WHO Press Release WHA/13 12 May 1995)

Efforts to bring the Ebola virus epidemic under control are continuing, with no change in the number of cases and deaths reported today from Zaire by the WHO team of experts investigating the outbreak.

The experts are hopeful that the outbreak will be limited to the general area where cases have been reported in three towns in Bandundu province. In a telephone report this morning, the WHO team of experts said there was no increase in the number of cases since the previous day.

They have recorded 27 deaths and 22 hospitalized cases related to Ebola, and no new locations of cases other than those in Kikwit, Mosango and Yassa Bonga. WHO intends to issue a daily bulletin of information on cases.

The WHO team is working with health officials of the Government of Zaire and with other nongovernmental organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Médecins sans Frontières Belgique. One priority is the detection and surveillance of cases, and the tracing of contacts of those cases. Members of the public who suspect they may have Ebola infection are being encouraged to seek medical attention, and WHO is providing advice on the care and management of Ebola patients.

WHO headquarters in Geneva is recommending that no special measures be instituted with respect to aircraft passengers or crew arriving in other countries from Zaire. In advice aimed particularly towards health authorities and airlines, WHO says that persons with the Ebola virus become infectious to others only when they are extremely ill and are already haemorrhaging or bleeding.

"It is highly unlikely that such persons would try to travel on an international flight, and unlikely that they would be permitted to board if they did try" WHO says. "If on board they would represent a hazard to members of the crew and any passengers who had direct contact with the patient's blood. Such passengers should be placed as far as practical from other passengers and crew. Aircrews as a routine should advise ground staff at the destination if they have severely ill passengers aboard. Health or quarantine authorities should arrange for the isolation of these passengers for initial clinical screening for Ebola".

This notice board will be updated whenever new information is available.

For urgent queries, please contact Thomson Prentice, telephone (41 22) 791 3221, Philippe Stroot, telephone (41 22) 791 2535 or Christopher Powell, telephone (41 22) 791 2888, Health Communications and Public Relations, WHO Geneva. Fax (41 22) 791 4858 [an error occurred while processing this directive]