Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

19 dead, 39 infected so far in Congo Ebola outbreak

WHO DG Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus WHO DG Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus
Steve Townsend | 15 May, 2018, 15:05

The Guinea field trial in 2016 found the vaccine to be 100 percent effective at preventing infection among the 6,000 people who received it.

Scientists at the national microbiology lab in Winnipeg, Manitoba, have prepared an experimental Ebola vaccine for shipment to the world health organisation.

But it's still very worrisome, said Dr. Peter Salama, WHO's deputy director general for emergency preparedness and response.

The WHO statement noted that 393 people who have been in contact with Ebola sufferers are being followed up, but information on the outbreak is still limited.

East African states bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had issued an alert warning resident, travelers and visitors calling to the region to take serious precaution over the outbreak of the deadly and infectious Ebola virus recently reported in Bikoro, Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The nation is prone to Ebola outbreaks due to its close proximity to the Congo River. So far, 19 people have died of the highly-contagious hemorrhagic fever and another 39 cases are suspected.

Iranians Protest Trump's Withdrawal From Nuclear Deal
President Trump made a historically correct decision but the Iranian people must also take action to get their country back. Ripping-up the JCPOA deal makes this policy choice clear. "It is not solving any of our problems", she added.


The WHO was widely criticised for reacting too slowly to the 2014-16 epidemic in West Africa. While outbreaks in remote areas usually mean the disease can be contained, on this occasion suspected cases have been reported in three locations spread over 60km. The 393 close contacts now under surveillance for symptoms of Ebola would likely be the first recipients of the vaccine.

"The proximity of the affected area to the Congo River, which links to the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, increases the risk of cases occurring in neighboring countries", the World Health Organization said in today's outbreak update.

"This is an experimental vaccine, not a licensed product, and there are a lot of complications", including ensuring it is stored at the correct temperature, Salama said.

Transporting the vaccines to the affected area would be logistically challenging.

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission, either through direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood or secretions or contact with materials that are contaminated with these liquids. The epicenter, a town called Bikoro, is hard to reach by vehicle because of poor roads between it and the regional capital, Mbandaka.

The Ministry of Health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is coordinating the response. On May 13, the WHO delivered two shipments from Geneva and Dubai with more than 30 tonnes of equipment, including Personal Protective Equipment kits, Interagency Emergency Health Kits, boxes for transportation, and body bags.

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