An Air Force C-141 Starlifter loaded with approximately 2,000 pounds of
emergency medical supplies departed Andrews AFB, Md., today for Kinshasa,
Zaire. The Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance-owned supplies are expected
to arrive at Kinshasa Airport on Sunday. They will be used in the ongoing
efforts to deal with the possible outbreak of hemorrhagic fever in the Kikwit
area of Bandundu Province of Zaire, about 150 miles east of Kinshasa.
The aircraft, assigned to the 60th Airlift Wing at Travis AFB, Calif., is
transporting 2,000 face masks, 300 body bags, 2,000 caps, 4,000 examination
gloves, 2,100 disposable boots, 200 units of plasma and 2,000 disposable
Hemorrhagic fever is a serious and communicable disease. It has caused several
fatalities among the local population and among health care workers, including
two Italian nuns. There are no firm figures on the number of persons who have
Zairian authorities have moved to quarantine infected persons. Travel to and
from the area may be restricted. Additionally, the Government of Zaire is
working to coordinate delivery of sterile handling items such as hospital gowns
and gloves and sterile hypodermic needles to the affected area.
The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is sending a team to Zaire to
participate in a World Health Organization mission to help the Government of
Zaire identify and combat the outbreak.