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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 09:13 GMT
Peace Corps leaves Gabon Ebola zone

The United States aid agency, the Peace Corps, has withdrawn eight of its volunteers from northern Gabon , after an outbreak of the highly contagious disease, Ebola.

The State Department said it had told all US government personnel to leave the affected area.

At least 10 people are known to have died from the disease in the remote province of Goose Ivindo near the border with the Republic of Congo.

The announcement comes two days after the World Health Organisation sent a team of experts to the province to help local authorities treat victims and distribute protective equipment such as gloves and masks to medical staff.

Ebola is one of the most virulent of diseases, causing death in most cases. Correspondents say this is the first confirmed outbreak of Ebola since last year when 224 people were killed by the disease in Uganda.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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The BBC's Emma Jane Kirby
"The fourth Ebola outbreak in Gabon in the past seven years"
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